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Halsall's 2nd Brace; Adrian Blasts 48.11

Mar 3, 2013  - Craig Lord

Francesca Halsall, of Loughborough and Britain, took her tally of victories at the 2nd Meeting International de la Méditérranée in Marseilles to four in a concluding session of finals that saw Nathan Adrian (USA) stamp his authority on the 100m freestyle.

On an evening that saw Olympic champion Adrian blast a world-leading 48.11 (22.89; 25.22), just shy of a second ahead of US teammate Anthony Ervin (second on 49.08), Halsall claimed the 100m free and 50m butterfly within half an hour, second place going to American Natalie Coughlin in both finals.

After winning efforts of 58.37 in the 100m butterfly and 24.91 in the 50m freestyle on Saturday, Halsall defeated former Olympic and world backstroke champion Coughlin in 54.61 to 54.79 in the 100m freestyle and 26.91 to 27.42 in the 50m butterfly. Third place in those finals went to Patricia Ortega (ESP), on 56.07 in the freestyle, and Amy Smith, Halsall's teammate, on 27.73.

For Halsall, the weekend's efforts marked a solid return to international waters and provided a hint that things are going well with new coach James Gibson, former 50m breaststroke world champion and former guide to Olympic 50m free champion Florent Manaudou.

Manaudou avoided the 100m free - after having succumbed to Adrian in the 50m free yesterday - but won the 50m butterfly in 23.51, just 0.01 ahead of his sister Laure's partner and Marseilles teammate Fred Bousquet. World record holder Rafa Munoz, of Spain, took third in 24.02. French pride in the 100m freestyle in the home of the Olympic 4x100m free gold-medal winning quartet settled on bronze, courtesy of Marseilles Grégory Mallet, on 49.31.

The last session started with a solid 16:17.80 win for double Olympic silver medallist Mireia Belmonte (ESP) in the 1500m freestyle, her Spain teammates Melanie Costa and Claudia Dasca following home in 16:29.27 and 16:40.06. The men's distance event of the day, the 800m free, went to Spain's Marc Sanchez in 8:12.26. Sanchez doubled to take the last win of the meet when he clocked 4:26.45 in the 400m medley.

Spain enjoyed several other victories. In the men's 100m backstroke, Belmonte's Sabadell teammate Aschwin Wildeboer clocked 54.67 to keep at bay Liam Tancock (Loughborough and GBR), on 55.19, the winner's Spain teammate Miguel Rando taking third in 55.47.

Marina Garcia (ESP) held off Elisa Celli, of Italian club Emilia Romagna,  2:27.89 to 2:28.79 in the 200m breaststroke, while the men's equivalent went to Marseilles' Giacomo Dortona in 2:15.43. Mercedes Peris, on 1:00.81, and Spain teammate Melanie Costa, on 1:03.54, were split by Cloé Credeville, of French club Nantes, on 1:01.49 in the 100m backstroke.

The last women's race of the meet went to Beatriz Gomez, on 4:44.60 in the 400m medley ahead of a 4:50.84 effort from her teammate Maria Vilas.

Ervin, Coughlin, Halsall and others will race at the British Gas International in Leeds, England, from Thursday to Sunday this week, with Adrian will bypass the British event.

Marseilles results in full.