PROFILE OF A CHAMPION SWIMMER
European Champion, Commonwealth gold and World silver medallist, Fran is a great character with a vivacious personality. At the 2010 European Championships she became Britain’s most successful swimmer at a single European Championships. Fran then emulated this at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi when she medalled in five events again, more than any other athlete on the English team.
Fran is the current British Record holder in the 100m and 50m freestyle, as well as the 50m and 100m butterfly.
Bill Sweetenham, who until 2007 was the National Performance Director for British Swimming, recently said he thinks we might look back at Fran in several years time and view her as one of the trend-setters of our generation and one of the swimmers of the decade.
Fran was the only British Gold medallist at the 2005 European Junior Championships in the 100m Freestyle. She also won Silver in the 50m Free and Bronze in the 4m x 200 Freestyle relay.
Since 2006 Fran has won 13 National titles and is the current British Record holder in the 100m and 50m freestyle, as well as the 50m and 100m butterfly. Fran began swimming at seven years old and by the age of 15 she was representing the British senior team and qualified to compete in her first Commonwealth Games in Melbourne where she came fourth in the 100m Freestyle. She also swam the anchor legs for the 100m Freestyle Relay team and the Medley Relay team winning silver medals in both. In the same year, at the European Long Course Championships, she came fourth in the 100m Freestyle and anchored the Medley Relay team to gold in a British record time, holding off the world record holder Britta Steffen. Following the race Steffan commented "the young girl on the final leg, what a swim, what a time".
At the 2007 National Championships Fran won the 50m Butterfly and the 100m Freestyle setting new British records in both. She also won the 50m Freestyle and was crowned swimmer of the meet confirming her billing as the most exciting sprint prospect in the world.
At the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, Fran qualified for the final of 3 out of the 6 events she competed in, setting a new British Record in the individual 100m Freestyle as well as helping break the British Record in the 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay and 4 x 100m Medley Relay.
In 2009 Fran started with a new coach and a heavier training schedule than ever before. This new regime brought her extra strength which showed at the World Championship 100m Freestyle final in Rome when she powered to a silver medal ahead of former World and Olympic Champion Lisbeth Trickett.
At the 2010 European Championships, Fran won her first individual senior international title in the 100m Freestyle as well as taking gold in the 4 x 100m Medley Relay, silver in the 100m Butterfly, silver in the 4 x 100 Freestyle Relay and bronze in the 50m Freestyle. With 5 medals in 5 events Fran became the most successful British Swimmer at a European Championships.
Despite suffering with “Delhi Belly”, Fran went on to repeat this 5 medal success at the Commonwealth Games.
After surgery on her ankle led to a disrupted winter, Fran put in some solid swims at the World Championships in Shanghai in July 2011 where she finished 4th in both the 50m and 100m freestyle. 2012 has started well for Fran, after an impressive week at the British Championships saw her qualify for the Olympics in all 3 of her individual events (100m & 50m freestyle & 100m butterfly).
In London 2012 Fran swam in 4 finals and learnt a lot about the preparation required for major events. Fran said the London Olympics were far and away the best event she had ever attended and was proud to have done her best for Team GB and the UK. She hopes this is a stepping stone to developing into the best sprinter she can possibly be.