Olympic trials are upon us… the moment all of our dreams will be defined
Everything in the past few years has been about qualifying for London 2012 but by the end of this week, the Olympic dream will be over for a lot of people.
Red alert: Halsall is focused on the coming trials
The trials for the Games start on Saturday at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park, and, with just two places up for grabs for each event, there is so much pressure.
This is the week that decides your dream and I am desperate to make sure I qualify. It's just so tough racing against your friends for only a few places.
I remember from the trials for
Beijing in 2008 how horrible it was seeing the people who didn't make
the team – you can't comfort them because there is nothing you can say.
is really emotional because for some people, if they don't make it,
that's it, they'll retire. I'm entering three events. I've got the 100
metres butterfly on Saturday and Sunday and that will be the toughest
event for me to qualify in.
Dandy and Jemma Lowe are in the top eight in the world. If I qualify
for that, I can relax for my main events – the 50m and 100m freestyle.
The 100m butterfly is a bit of a fun event and it's no real disaster if I
It helps that that event is up first
so I have some time to get used to the pool and the venue. It takes a
while to get used to the surroundings, where to go through security,
where you're staying and where to eat. It takes some adjustment.
is my first big competition since the World Championships at the end of
last year, where I was pretty upset at finishing fourth in my two
strongest events. I'd had surgery in the lead-up so I hadn't trained as
much as I'd have liked.
Reach the top: Halsall is aiming to improve on her performances in Beijing four years ago
Delhi belly: Halsall and her team-mates will be taking their own food while staying in London
Despite that, I was gutted at missing out on a medal. I don't really cry when I'm upset, I just get angry and I couldn't sleep because I was so frustrated.
Luckily my coach Ben Titley is much more pragmatic and reminded me how far I'd come in such a short space of time since the injury.
The weeks leading up to an event are
the worst for boredom because you cut down the amount of training you
do so you are well rested. We reduce the metres we swim, and the
intensity of our training.
Ready for action: The Aquatics Centre has already hosted the Diving World Championships
other morning, I had a proper lie-in till about 11.30am. I slept for 13
hours and was buzzing for the rest of the day. The big downside is that
you have too much free time to worry about your upcoming event.
when you spend so much time swimming, you start to feel really weird
when you're suddenly not in the water as much. We call it 'taper blues'
when you get into a rut with your body and struggle to cope with the
change in pace.
But I seem to be coming out the other
end of that now – just in time for Saturday's racing. You have to keep
yourself distracted so I've been watching so many movies.
Time is ticking: Halsall is relishing the coming trials at the Aquatics Centre in Stratford
I even got desperate enough to watch Evita and Mary Poppins in the same day. I need one of Mary's tape measures which tells me I'm practically perfect in every way.
I'm thinking about getting my nails done to
take my mind off swimming, but the water washes it off.
Someone needs to invent nail varnish that stays on when you're swimming. If I qualify,
I'll get Union Flags painted on.
One of my 'perfect' talents I'll be sharing with my team-mates in London is my cooking. You don't want to eat out for eight days in a row or you'll get out of shape so a group of us are cooking meals in advance, bringing them down with a microwave and heating them up in our hotel.
Lizzie Simmonds, Emma Wilkins and I are taking a mini fridge down too and making a chilli, a bolognaise, a risotto and a few other things. Our mums are going to bring food down, too.
In fact, my mum, my dad, my brother, my grandma, my grandad, my nana and my boyfriend are all coming down to see me – quite the crowd!
I'm responsible for the chilli. I make it medium but with a bit of a kick. What we're most worried about is making sure we reheat it all properly so we don't give each other food poisoning. We don't need tummy problems like in Delhi at the Commonwealth Games!