Former Sky Scholar Fran Halsall announces retirement from swimming

By Charlotte Bates

Last Updated: 19/02/2017, 20:59 GMT

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 17:  Francesca Halsall of Great Britain poses with her Bronze medal after coming third in the Women's 50m Butterfly Final on day nine
Image: Fran Halsall can boast a fine collection of silverware

Three-time Olympian Fran Halsall has announced her retirement from professional swimming after a 10-year international career.

The 26-year-old, whose training base for much of her career was Loughborough, has won medals at world, European and Commonwealth level, including gold in the 2015 World Championships in the 4x100m mixed medley relay.

Halsall also appeared at three Olympic Games - Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 - agonisingly missing out on a medal in Brazil last summer when she finished fourth in the 50m freestyle.

The former Sky Academy Sports Scholar said: "Stepping away from the pool is quite a scary decision. Announcing my retirement from swimming is a weird concept to me as I've never seen it as a career or job.

"Just a hobby that I've loved doing and happened to be okay at. It's time to close this chapter of my life and move on to the next.

"Swimming has taught me so much and given me opportunities that no other career could."

England's Francesca Halsall celebrates after winning the Women's 50m Butterfly Final, at Tollcross Swimming Centre, during the 2014 Commonwealth Games
Image: Halsall's glittering international career spanned over 10 years

Halsall was supported on the Sky Scholarship scheme in the build-up to the London Olympics.

Double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington paid tribute to her former GB team-mate by tweeting: "Congratulations Fran! What a career you've had. So many proud moments and a lot of laughs xxx"

British Swimming head coach Bill Furniss added: "Francesca has been a key part of the British team since her debut (in 2006) and has seen her skill and dedication rewarded with medals at almost every level of the sport.

"To have a career at the top of her sport for a decade is something she should be proud of. From myself and everyone at British Swimming I would like to wish her well for her future endeavours."

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