Halsall dreams big
The 22-year-old has had good preparation going into the Olympics
Fran Halsall: The GB swimmer is aiming to be the fastest woman in the world
When scholar Fran Halsall takes to the blocks for the final of the 100 metres freestyle on August 2 she will have just one objective - becoming the fastest woman in the world.
For the 22-year-old, London will be her second Olympic Games.
Eighth four years ago in Beijing has been followed by medals at World, European and Commonwealth level.
However, the Loughborough ITC swimmer admits that she would gladly bite off the hand of anyone offering her the gold medal in the 100m freestyle, her favoured event, over any other, despite also competing in the 100m butterfly and 50m free as well as relays.
Halsall said: "Definitely. It would be nice to be the fastest woman in the world.
"That's the main thinking behind it. If I got one medal it would be brilliant but a gold in the 100 free, that would be the ultimate for me. It's the blue riband event."
At just 5ft 6in and lean, Halsall is dwarfed by some of her rivals yet she feels this gives her an advantage on the opening length.
The Southport-born swimmer added: "Everything has got to be perfect. It's a case of just getting everything perfect.
"But it's a case of two lengths rather than one, so I don't want to go out too fast because you want to be coming home fast."
Returning speed is where one of her main rivals has notably made improvements this year.
Ranomi Kromowidjojo heads the world rankings in both the 50m and 100m, setting textile world records in each event in April.
The Dutchwoman was noticeably faster on the second length than the time which brought her bronze ahead of Halsall at last year's World Championships as she set a time of 52.75.
It meant she became the first woman to dip below 53secs in textiles. Australian Libby Trickett did so in 2007 but that was in a mixed relay, and in a lane beside 14-time Olympic champion Michael Phelps, which was never officially recognised.
Kromowidjojo's time is 0.12secs faster than Halsall's 2009 best, in the midst of the shiny suit chaos, meaning a new best may well be required.
Halsall added: "Yes but that's the point of the Olympics. That's what the game is, to swim faster than you've ever swum before.
"For various reasons I've not swum as quick as I can over the last couple of years. I've swum fast but not to my potential.
"But I've enjoyed a great preparation for these Games, and if a performance comes out on the day I will be there or thereabouts."
Halsall experienced a public and painful low at last year's World Championships where she finished fourth despite having entered the final fastest.
However, she believes this reduces the expectation while also insisting she is in the best shape of her life.
"I don't have 'everyone's looking at Fran expecting her to win because she won last year' to deal with.
"If I come higher than fourth, I've done well. It's a more comfortable position to be in. Before 2009 I wasn't expected to get a medal, and I liked coming in in that position."
A born racer, Halsall likes "to get stuck in" - something recognised by former national performance director Bill Sweetenham who handpicked her for the Smart Track programme, which took a group of young girls on camps abroad, exposing them to tough competition and harsh conditions.
A controversial figure, nevertheless Halsall only sings his praises, adding: "He was my favourite. I love him. I don't think I'd be swimming now if he hadn't given me the opportunity to train with the senior squad."