Team GB Olympic Swimmer Fran Halsall began swimming at age 7 and by 15 she was representing the British senior team. Since 2006 Fran has won 13 National titles and is the current British Record holder over long course in the 100m and 50m freestyle.
Recently back from her third Olympics in Rio, we catch up with Fran at Pot Kettle Black coffee shop in Manchester.
Hey Fran! We’re here at Pot Kettle Black in Manchester, tell us a bit about your connection to the coffee shop.
My other half is one of the owners (St Helens Rugby League player Jon Wilkin opened PKB in 2014, a swanky coffee shop in Barton Arcade, Deansgate) We come here a lot with our dog Blu. He’s a Sproodle so he’s just a big teddy bear. We let him loose in the arcade and he’s always wandering in to the other shops to say hello!
He’s gorgeous! You’ve recently returned from Rio, your third Olympics, out of the three (Beijing, London, Rio) which would you say were your best games so far?
That’s such a hard question because they have all been so different. Beijing was my first games so that was really special and something I’ll never forget, but London being a home games was just incredible. The support we had from the crowds was something we’d all never experienced before and we never will again.
But then Rio was such a carnival atmosphere, it was such a fun vibe, it’s too hard to choose!
We heard reports that the Olympic village was quite wild, is that true?
I think you’re always going to get that when you put a load of athletes together, it’s like as student halls really. And you have athletes leaving to compete and coming back at all hours of the day and night. Competing later at night was a different experience too.
You came incredibly close to winning a medal in Rio. How much pressure is there to be your best on the worlds stage?
Nobody puts more pressure on you more than you put on yourself. I am my biggest critic. I gave it everything I had but to come so close was really hard (Fran was in the gold medal position for 45m of the 50m race) but I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to race and I really enjoyed it.
Did you get a chance to enjoy any other events out there? Did you see any other disciplines you though ‘I fancy having a go at that!’
The womens rugby actually! I’ll have to get Jon to give me a few training tips. They looked like they were having so much fun.
Other than yourself, name one member of Team GB who stands out as the hardest worker, someone you admire.
There’s loads in Team GB, but I think Jess Ennis Hill stands out for me. To go away and have a baby and come back and still be in incredible shape is an outstanding achievement and she takes it all in her stride.
What’s next for Fran Halsall? Will we see you in Tokyo?
I’ve just had three weeks off to go on holiday and move back up North to Knutsford. I’m definitely going back into training now as that’s the longest I can ever have ‘off’ and I really want to get my fitness back on track and I’m looking forward to training in Liverpool again.
One of the things I’d love to do is to open my own specialist coffee shop in the North West and I’ve been doing loads of coffee research to get some ideas together! I’ve also partnered with MyvitaminsUK and I’m working really closely with them to encourage people to get back into swimming.
(Laughs) We’ll see! Maybe, I haven’t ruled it out. I’ll only be 30 so it’s not impossible.
One thing is for certain, we haven’t seen the last of Fran Halsall yet.
Fran Halsall has partnered with MyvitaminsUK. Find out more about Fran here.