Tag Archives: 100m

Manchester City quash New York MLS franchise rumours

Man City quash rumours of 100m New York MLS franchise involving Beckham

|

UPDATED:

11:09 GMT, 15 December 2012

Manchester City have rejected speculation they are in discussions to buy a new MLS franchise.

City, who yesterday reported annual losses of 97.9m and increased turnover of 231.1m, were said to be on the brink of being awarded a franchise that would be based in the Queens district of New York.

It had been suggested David Beckham had been approached to be part of the scheme, which was to be named New York City Football Club and cost Blues owner Sheikh Mansour 100m.

No truth: Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour is not about to start a Major League Soccer franchise in New York, according to the club

No truth: Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour is not about to start a Major League Soccer franchise in New York, according to the club

However, Manchester City officials have today distanced themselves from the talk.

'Manchester City are not buying an MLS club,' said City in a short statement.

Sheikh Mansour has used his involvement with City, on which he has now lavished well in excess of 1bn, to raise the profile of Abu Dhabi.

Farewell: David Beckham waved goodbye to the MLS and LA Galaxy earlier this month, but was rumoured to be involved in the New York venture

Farewell: David Beckham waved goodbye to the MLS and LA Galaxy earlier this month, but was rumoured to be involved in the New York venture

It was suggested an involvement within the MLS would add to the work that has taken place turning City from a mid-ranking Premier League club into last season's champions.

A second MLS franchise in New York is set to be based in Queens, close to the site of Flushing Meadow, which currently hosts the US tennis open.

Hannah Miley beats Ye Shiwen to gold in 400m medley at World Short-Course Championships and Lowe wins bronze

Miley beats Olympic champion Ye to win gold and Lowe bags bronze at World Short-Course Championships

|

UPDATED:

21:11 GMT, 12 December 2012

Hannah Miley held off Olympic champion Ye Shiwen to claim Great Britain's first gold medal of the World Short-Course Championships when she won the 400 metres individual medley in Istanbul.

Ye was at the centre of the biggest controversy in the pool at the 2012 Olympics as her freestyle leg en route to victory in the eight-length event almost defied belief.

In London the Chinese teenager was just three hundredths of a second slower over the final 100m than Ryan Lochte, winner of the men's race.
Indeed her last 50m was faster than four in the men's final, including Lochte and Thiago Pereira, the gold and silver medallists.

Earlier Jemma Lowe won Britain's first medal at the event by finishing third in the 200
metres butterfly.

Take that: Miley (left) held off a late rally from Chinese sensation Ye Shiwen

Take that: Miley (left) held off a late rally from Chinese sensation Ye Shiwen

Miley, fifth in London, had qualified fastest into the final, but predicted it would be a different race come the final, claiming the Chinese teenager was 'playing' in the heats.

Fourth after the butterfly and backstroke legs, Miley then produced a superb breaststroke to turn first going into the freestyle, 2.04 seconds ahead of Ye.

However, as expected, Ye came back and on her final 25m of 28.14 secs, the only sub 29-second last length in the field, she reeled Miley in.

The Scot, though, was breathing to her right where she could see her rival, whom she held off by 0.19s to win in a new championship record of four minutes 23.14 seconds, the fastest ever in a textile suit, bettering her own mark from the European Championship last month.

Hanging on: Miley turned into the freestyle leg 2.04 seconds ahead of Ye and held on to win by 0.19 seconds

Hanging on: Miley turned into the freestyle leg 2.04 seconds ahead of Ye and held on to win by 0.19 seconds

The 23-year-old 'was hanging on for dear life' and admitted the achievement had significance for both her and her father and coach Patrick, vindicating their approach after the Olympics.

Miley said: 'A lot of top athletes aren't here so for me I see it as an opportunity and any opportunity I see I try and take it.

'So for me I was aiming for it to be a confidence booster for both myself and my dad and what we are doing this season.

'Not only were we trying to chase placings, but also to do a really good time which I was really happy with.

'But the main thing is long-course (50m) swimming so I am really happy with what I've done, but for me I am not going to be happy with it until I can prove I can do it long course as well.

'Hindsight is a great thing and lots of people have cliches and I was genuinely was happy with that swim, but for me I probably wouldn't be the athlete I am standing here today doing those times if the Olympics hadn't have happened.'

Golden girl: Miley (centre) poses with her gold medal in Istanbul

Golden girl: Miley (centre) poses with her gold medal in Istanbul

Lowe secured Britain's first medal in Istanbul as she won bronze in the 200m butterfly.

The 22-year-old swam from lane one after qualifying seventh, meaning she had no idea of how the expected leaders were faring.

However, that had little bearing on the Swansea ITC swimmer who touched in two minutes 3.19 seconds. It was also a national record for Lowe, who lowered her own 2010 mark, the Briton leading after 150m before being overtaken by Hungarian Katinka Hosszu and 2012 Olympic champion Jiao Liuyang.

All smiles: Jemma Lowe (right) picked up the bronze in the 200m butterfly

All smiles: Jemma Lowe (right) picked up the bronze in the 200m butterfly

Lowe said: 'I'm really pleased with that. I didn't know what to expect after this morning when I was in that slow heat by myself and I just scraped into the final.

'Because I have won a medal previously at world short course I was really determined to get up there, so I just gave it my very best tonight and I can't believe how it worked out.'

There was no such satisfaction for Michael Jamieson, the Olympic 200m breaststroke silver medallist.

The Glaswegian was thoroughly frustrated, despite setting a new personal best of 58.56s in the 100m breaststroke.

He said: 'It's the same old story on the 100 – I just can't keep up with the bigger guys.

Powerhouse: Lowe put in a solid performance to pick up Britain's first medals

Powerhouse: Lowe put in a solid performance to pick up Britain's first medals

'It's frustrating – it's the fastest I have ever been but I am getting to the stage with the 200m that if I am ever going to improve then my 100 needs to come down.'

That was in contrast to Georgia Davies, another Swansea ITC swimmer, who set a personal best of 57.41s to qualify third for the 100m backstroke final.

Lizzie Simmonds was 10th in 58.34s, although her focus is on the 200m since her move to Bath ITC.

London 2012 Paralympics: Ellie Simmonds signs out with silver in S6 100m freestlye

Golden girl Simmonds signs out with silver, claiming fourth medal of Paralympics in S6 100m freestyle

|

UPDATED:

17:29 GMT, 8 September 2012

Ellie Simmonds claimed her fourth medal of London 2012, taking silver in the S6 100 metres freestyle.

The 17-year-old had already secured two golds and one bronze and qualified second for the two-length race.

She repeated that this evening when she touched second after Victoria Arlen in one minute 14.82 seconds with the American lowering her own world record to 1min 13.33secs.

Four-medal haul: Ellie Simmonds has has another tremendous Paralympics

Four-medal haul: Ellie Simmonds has has another tremendous Paralympics

Simmonds told Channel 4: 'I gave it everything on that last 50. I could see her but I just didn't have anything left.

'I'm just really chuffed. A PB by over a second, I'm just really happy. I would have loved to get the gold but you can't have everything.'

Asked how the Games compared to 2008, she said: 'I think Beijing's always going to be the best Games for me. I loved it all and it was my first Games.

Sporting spirit: Simmonds congratulates Victoria Arlen on her world record

Sporting spirit: Simmonds congratulates Victoria Arlen on her world record

'This Games has been amazing as well though. It's been topped off by my swims. It's been really good in front of a home crowd, it's been amazing.

'I don't want it to end but it is ending and I'm just looking forward to celebrating now. I'm just going to celebrate with the team and be with them and enjoy it all.'

London 2012 Paralympics: Nyree Kindred setting new record in S6 100m backstroke

Kindred shows spirit after setting new Paralympic record in S6 100m backstroke

|

UPDATED:

10:35 GMT, 30 August 2012

Nyree Kindred set a new Paralympic record as the swimming programme got under way at the Aquatics Centre.

London 2012 is the 32-year-old's fourth Paralympics and she is looking to add to the nine medals, including two golds, she has already secured.

Making a splash: Kindred set a new record in the pool

Making a splash: Kindred set a new record in the pool

Fans-tastic: Kindred has heaped praise on the Paralympics GB supporters

Fans-tastic: Kindred has heaped praise on the Paralympics GB supporters

The Welshwoman was second in the S6 100
metres backstroke in Beijing and today she booked her passage in the
final in one minute 27.96 seconds, lowering by 0.22secs the mark set by
China's Lu Dong in the first heat.

Kindred, who was the first Briton into the pool, said: 'I couldn't ask for anything better in a heat swim. I would like to go quicker; that was a hard race so I am going to try with the crowd with me.

'But anything could happen because all those girls who made that final are capable of a lot more so you've just got to watch this space and see what happens.'

Chants of 'Team GB' – here the team is actually called ParalympicsGB – had reverberated around the 17,500-capacity venue before Kindred's race with noticeably fewer empty seats than at the Olympics.

She said: 'It's uplifting. It does spur you on because at previous Games it's really been about the other athletes, like for the Chinese in Beijing.

'Here you know they are cheering for
you, they are not trying to intimidate you or make you nervous, they are
trying to lift you and get you going.

'It worked and I was just trying to focus and make sure I could listen to the starter as well.'

London 2012 Olympics: Usain Bolt will fly through 200 metre final – Martin Samuel

Big cat Bolt is purring! And in 200m final you'll see that man CAN fly!

|

UPDATED:

22:48 GMT, 8 August 2012

Olympics 2012

Usain Bolt does not run the 200 metres. He flies. On Wednesday night he sauntered. Analysis of his victory in the Olympic 100m on Sunday show that in the 9.63sec from gun to tape, Bolt was connected to the earth for no more than two seconds. It is almost inaccurate to call what he does running.

'His stride is wildernesses of freedom: the world rolls under the long thrust of his heel,' wrote Ted Hughes. The poet saw a jaguar trapped behind cage bars in a zoo and imagined its dream, turning the world on its axis with each stride of its giant paws. When Bolt runs as freely as he did in last night’s 200m qualifier it must feel like that, too.

Each pace a revolution, lapping not just a track, but a planet, kicking off into air and landing, whole continents gobbled up and still twirling beneath the traction of his feet.

Float on: Bolt barely touches the ground when during his sprints

Float on: Bolt barely touches the ground when during his sprints

If it is possible for a man to glide, to skim across the surface at the Olympic Stadium, that is what Bolt achieved. He stopped running flat out before he had left the bend, completing the race a blur of pure confidence. Bolt knows his place at these Games, and it is in front, in charge, a London street ahead of the rest.

On Thursday night he will attempt to create his masterpiece. Just before nine o’clock Bolt will set out to run a race so powerful, so extraordinary, so unprecedented that in sporting terms it will make the world spin. With each stride Bolt will be tearing a page, a name, an Olympiad, from the history book.

No predecessor, from Walter Tewkesbury, the first gold medallist in Athens in 1896 to Shawn Crawford in the same city in 2004, got to keep that precious gold medal over 200m. After last night’s semi-final, despite recording the fifth-fastest qualifying time, Bolt is now the 6-1 on favourite to do just that.

This is Bolt’s Olympics, every bit as much as in Beijing. When the parochial thrill of the British medal haul has faded, the name that will leap from the page is his. Bolt has redefined his event, and not just through size. Plenty of people are tall, but they cannot run like Bolt.

And his is the hardest event, for the entire world is his rival. Not everybody can afford golf clubs or a sailboat, not every country has access to a velodrome or the technology required to match British cycling; but each free and able-bodied person in the world is at liberty to try to run as fast as he can. Everybody can have a crack at being Usain Bolt. And only one man is.

Centre of attention: Everyone at the Olympic Stadium (above and below) wants a memory of Bolt

Centre of attention: Everyone at the Olympic Stadium (above and below) wants a memory of Bolt

Centre of attention: Everyone at the Olympic Stadium (above and below) wants a memory of Bolt

Nobody has come close to pushing the outside of this particular envelope, the double 100m and 200m. On Sunday night, Bolt executed his first gold medal run to perfection, setting an Olympic record over the shorter distance. On Thursday night he will attempt a repeat.

Even without a record-breaking time, a place in sport’s pantheon will be assured by gold. The double double has eluded all for one simple reason: in 24 attempts nobody keeps holds of the 200m crown.
Even double domination of the 100m has only occurred once before, when Carl Lewis retained his 1984 gold medal in 1988, in Seoul, a race subsequently discredited by so many positive drugs tests.

Yet if what Bolt did on Sunday was improbable, his aim this evening had previously been considered impossible. Even Lewis could not keep hold of the 200m title, coming second to countryman Joe DeLoach four years later. Tonight, Bolt is intending to go faster, farther than any man has gone before. This is athletic evolution. Given the time he ran on Sunday night, the winner of the first Olympic 100m in 1896, Thomas Burke, would have been 18m in his wake.

Bolt’s feats travel, ricochet like gunshots, bounce from satellites, to every part of the globe. At the Waldensia Primary School in Trelawny, Jamaica on Sunday, the children, their parents and teachers were gathered in front of a television to watch the latest exploits of their most famous ex-pupil. At which point the power failed.

Not his, obviously: theirs. Bolt’s electricity is very much on full current here in London, but the same cannot be said of northern Jamaica, where large swathes missed the sporting highlight of the year.
So what happened At Waldensia Primary, a small girl also triumphed.

Best foot forward: Bolt is preparing to dazzle the world with another 200m title

Best foot forward: Bolt is preparing to dazzle the world with another 200m title

Best foot forward: Bolt is preparing to dazzle the world with another 200m title

She produced a pink battery-operated transistor radio and her friends gathered around that instead. They heard, rather than saw, Bolt become the fastest man in Olympic history and then, in pictures that have gone around the world via Skype, they shared his joy with whooping, cheering, table-slapping abandon. And that was just the adults.

Bolt brings happiness, no doubt of that. His great rival Yohan Blake, who recorded the fastest time in the semi-finals, although he almost slowed to the point of madness in the last 20m, tries to match his showmanship, but he is a young man and always looks slightly self-conscious in his posturing. Bolt acts as if born to it.

For a man said to be scared stiff of disqualification through false-start, a fate that befell him at the World Championships last year, he showed little sign of it at the start here, body-popping to the music before settling down in the blocks.

This is an athlete who tweeted a picture of his 3am companions having won the 100m: the Swedish women's handball team. He thinks British footballers — and he is perfectly serious in angling for a trial at Manchester United, by the way — are encouraged to settle down too early. Don’t tell Sir Alex Ferguson.

Now the stage is set. Bolt is the
marquee name of these Games, and legitimately, too. There is much to
celebrate in his athletic feats, no matter that the sport lends itself
to doubt and suspicion. A man wins Olympic gold with his laces undone,
teasing the crowd, and people tend to ask questions.

Best foot forward: Bolt is preparing to dazzle the world with another 200m title

Stroll in the park: Bolt made light work of his semi-final, cruising home in the final stages

Stroll in the park: Bolt made light work of his semi-final, cruising home in the final stages

The fastest man of all time claims to prepare on breakfasts of chicken nuggets and parties with off duty Swedish athletes and some wonder how so Yet, so consistent over four years, Bolt’s success makes perfect sense.

It had always been thought that if an athlete of his dimensions could achieve the explosive speed of the squat sprinters from the blocks, then his giant steps would take him past the field like no man before. We have been anticipating Bolt for some time; we just haven’t seen his like.

So what we will see at the Olympic Stadium tonight is entirely logical. Bolt is still the slowest starter on the track, as he should be, but once in his rhythm, cannot be caught. That is even truer over 200m than 100, where he has more time to get going.

The longer race was always his favourite, his feats over the shorter distance merely a bonus. The biggest cat on the track, Bolt is the fastest man in the world almost by accident. What happens tonight is by design. You’ll believe a man can fly.

London 2012 Olympics: Fran Halsall qualifies for 100m freestyle

Halsall's pretty in pink as she secures her Olympic spot in the 100m freestyle

|

UPDATED:

21:12 GMT, 8 March 2012

Former world silver medallist Fran Halsall was the centre of attention at the Olympic trials on Thursday night after she won the 100 metres freestyle leading from the front in a bright pink suit.

Halsall was inside Commonwealth record pace at the halfway stage and although she could not maintain that, her time of 53.57 seconds was well within that required with fellow Loughborough ITC swimmer Amy Smith joining her on the Great Britain team.

Joe Roebuck qualified in his third event when he won the 200m individual medley with Commonwealth champion James Goddard also booking a slot.

Thumbs up: Fran Halsall secured her place in the Olympics for the 100m freestyle

Thumbs up: Fran Halsall secured her place in the Olympics for the 100m freestyle

Stacey Tadd made it on to the team in the 200m breaststroke.

Halsall's time sent her to the top of the world rankings although this has limited significance considering Britain are the first major nation to hold their trials.

Once Australia's equivalent begin next week, it will become clearer where home swimmers stand.

The 21-year-old said: 'I'm a bit disappointed with the time if I'm honest, I thought I'd go a bit faster than that tonight.

'But I've never gone that fast in Britain before and its the fastest I've ever been at this time of year so I can only take good things from that.

Going for gold: Joseph Roebuck (centre) with James Goddard (right) and Ieuan Lloyd

Going for gold: Joseph Roebuck (centre) with James Goddard (right) and Ieuan Lloyd

'My coach always says 'Fran, you never really turn up until the summer' so hopefully I'll be able to go faster come the Games. Now I am on the team I can just totally focus on that.

The Southport-born swimmer did not have it all her own way with Smith much improved in 54.01 and for Halsall that also bodes well for the sprint freestyle

'She swam really well tonight, all the girls are really bringing it down so it's looking really good for the relay on the first day, it's making me all excited.'

Of her Arena suit, she said: 'I think I get a 10 for fashion tonight' before claiming her father could now identify her in the pool.

Making a splash: Goddard in the 200m Medley

Making a splash: Goddard in the 200m Medley

Smith said: 'It's the first Olympics I've qualified for and I'm absolutely over the moon but I would have loved to have done a 53. I'm a bit speechless to be honest to know that I'll be racing against the best girls in the world.'

Goddard was under Commonwealth record pace at the final turn in the individual medley tonight but he visibly tired and was caught by Roebuck, finishing 0.26 behind the Loughborough ITC swimmer's time of 1:58.16.

Roebuck added the 200m event to the longer medley and 200m butterfly slots he had already booked.

He said: 'It's been great this week. Tonight was all about making the team.'

Goddard is concentrating on the medley after a shoulder injury forced him to give up the 200m backstroke. The 28-year-old was fourth by 0.10 behind European record holder Laszlo Cseh at last year's World Championships in Shanghai.

However, Goddard tonight revealed he had had to overcome illnesses, the details of which he did not disclose.

He said: 'It's not something I really want to talk about right now. I might talk about it closer to the Olympics but I've not had the best preparation.

'I've had some illnesses I will probably talk about in the future but right now I am just relieved and happy to have made the team.'

Goddard added: 'I'm really excited about the time I've done here. I didn't expect to go that quick considering my preparation, so really chuffed and relieved.'

Tadd held off the fast-finishing Renshaw in the 200m breaststroke.

The 23-year-old attacked from the outset but 15-year-old Renshaw, the baby of the team in Shanghai, paced her race well and appeared poised to touch first. However, Tadd held on to touch in 2:26.63, within the qualifying time, with Renshaw 0.18 adrift.

Nineteen-year-old Calum Jarvis won the 200m backstroke ahead of Marco Loughran and Chris Walker-Hebborn. However, his time of 1:59.48 was exactly a second outside Olympic qualification.

London 2012 Olympics: Ellen Gandy and Jemma Lowe seal 200m fly place

Gandy and Lowe fight the pain to seal 200m butterfly Olympic place

Ellen Gandy and Jemma Lowe both pushed through the pain barrier to qualify for the Olympic team in a 200 metres butterfly race where the final 25m felt like 'swimming uphill' at the Aquatics Centre.

World silver medallist Gandy flew through the first 150m and was 1.84 seconds inside Katinka Hosszu's European record from 2009 at the final turn.

However, the 20-year-old paid for such a pace and the last 25m were excruciating with Lowe catching her, but ultimately Gandy held on to touch in two minutes 06.01 seconds, adding a berth in the 200m to the two-length race she won earlier this week.

See you there: Ellen Gandy and Jemma Lowe have secured their London 2012 place

See you there: Ellen Gandy and Jemma Lowe have secured their London 2012 place

Double world finalist Lowe was 0.36 secs adrift with both women well within the qualifying time, with Jess Dickons placing third.

Gandy admitted the race pace had not been planned, saying: 'I was so unbelievably nervous before that race. I thought I'd be more relaxed because I was on the team for the 100m and I felt I was going to faint in the call room.

'My nerves must have taken me out really fast and I absolutely paid for that on the last 50m – I don't think my coach is going to be happy with that at all. I've just got to go back and analyse what happened and hopefully it won't happen again.'

Her pain in the final metres was evident and the Bromley-born swimmer added: 'If you swim it properly it (the last 25m) shouldn't be too bad, but that was suicide. I just wished the wall was closer, I felt like I was swimming uphill. It was very painful.'

For Lowe, qualification came as a relief after she missed out over two lengths.

Flying through the water: At one stage, Gandy was on for the European record

Flying through the water: At one stage, Gandy was on for the European record

She said: 'It has been such an emotional week for me and I am just really happy I managed to get my place on the team. I was so nervous, I knew I had to keep relaxed and I'd be able to do it.

'I just concentrated on myself and had the confidence I could come back on the second 100m and finish hard.'

Of the last 25m, the Swansea ITC swimmer said: 'I was thinking about the Olympics and how hard I've worked and it got me to the end.'

Bath ITC training partners Andrew Willis and Michael Jamieson made the team in the 200m breaststroke after they produced the form that saw them to last year's World Championships final.

There too: Michael Jamieson

There too: Michael Jamieson

Jamieson was fifth in Shanghai last summer, three places ahead of his team-mate, and he led at the final turn tonight, but Willis paced his race perfectly, swimming the last 50m 0.9 faster than Jamieson to edge past and touch in 2:09.33.

His time was just 0.32 off Kris Gilchrist's British record set in 2009 during the turbo-suit era and would have been the sixth fastest in the world last year.

Jamieson was 0.51 adrift with both men setting new personal bests some way inside the qualification time, but for Gilchrist third position meant only that he had missed the cut.

Willis said: 'I was not expecting it to be that quick. I always knew my goal was to go under 2.10 and my coach said 'go for it' and I went for it from the start. The last 50m, it was just everything hard.'

Jamieson said: 'It was a real fear of failure that drove me on tonight because I was crawling home in that last 50m. I was ready to fight for my place tonight.'

Olympic trials are upon us… the moment all of our dreams will be defined

EXCLUSIVE: 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.

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.

Time is ticking: Halsall is relishing the coming trials at the Aquatics Centre in Stratford

Time is ticking: Halsall is relishing the coming trials at the Aquatics Centre in Stratford

Decorated…

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.

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.

It 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.

Ellen 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 don't qualify.

Reach the top: Halsall is aiming to improve on her performances in Beijing four years ago

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

Delhi belly: Halsall and her team-mates will be taking their own food while staying in London

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.

This
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.

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.

Ready for action: The Aquatics Centre has already hosted the Diving World Championships

Ready for action: The Aquatics Centre has already hosted the Diving World Championships

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.

The
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.

Also,
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.

Red alert: Halsall is focused on the coming trials

Red alert: Halsall is focused on the coming trials

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.

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.

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!

Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell to run in Rome

Olympic rivals Powell and Bolt to go head to head in Rome in May

Asafa Powell will take on fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt at the Golden Gala in Rome in May, meeting organisers have confirmed.

The pair will go head to head over 100 metres at the Olympic Stadium on May 31.

Rivals: Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell will come face to face in Rome in May

Rivals: Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell will come face to face in Rome in May

Powell, the former 100m world record holder, is expected to be one of his compatriot's main rivals at the London 2012 Olympics.

Bolt, the Olympic champion over 100 and 200m, had already confirmed he will race over the shorter distance in Rome and Oslo on June 7.

Asafa Powell set to race at Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix

Former 100m world record holder Powell set to race at Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix

On the run: Asafa Powell plans to race in Birmingham as part of 2012 preparations

On the run: Asafa Powell plans to race in Birmingham as part of 2012 preparations

Former 100 metres world record holderAsafa Powell has announced his intention to compete in the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham on February 18 next year.

Powell has not competed on the indoor circuit since 2004, but believes it can help his preparation for the 2012 London Olympics.

The 29-year-old, who will be based in Birmingham with the Jamaican team in the lead-up to the Games, said: “I”m really excited about competing indoors as I haven”t raced an indoorseason in a long time.

“My coach and I have been speaking about the ideal preparation for next year”s Olympics and we think doing an indoor season is the best move for me. I love competing indoors and to get the opportunity to race in Birmingham is really exciting.

“To prepare for a major championships you need to be racing against the best people in the world and I know that”s what”s in store at the Aviva Grand Prix.

“The calibre of athletes there has always been strong and if I”m going to be challenging for medals, I need to be racing against the best opposition all the way up until the Olympics.

“It”s not long now until the Games so every minute counts. I can”t quite believe this will be my first time competing indoors in the UK.”