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Ormskirk Advertiser - - Student Life -

OLYMPIC swim­mer Francesca Hal­sall gave Edge Hill Sport grad­uands some top tips from her ca­reer in elite sport at their grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony re­cently.

Francesca – made an Honorary Doc­tor of Sci­ence at the event – said that it’s never too early to start work­ing to­wards a goal.

“Daily dis­ci­pline and hard work are the only keys to suc­cess,” she said.

“I’ve heard the words ‘on your marks’ fol­lowed by an elec­tronic beep hun­dreds and hun­dreds of times and this pro­ce­dure is an amaz­ing anec­dote to pro­cras­ti­na­tion.

“You have no rea­son to think, just act – do it now.”

Southport-born Francesca re­tired ear­lier this year from a ca­reer that saw her rep­re­sent Great Bri­tain in the Bei­jing, Lon­don and Rio Olympics and com­pete in many other in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions, break­ing records and bring­ing home 14 gold, 14 sil­ver and nine bronze medals from World, Euro­pean and Com­mon­wealth cham­pi­onships.

She is now a busi­ness­woman, hav­ing opened a new cof­fee shop in the heart of Al­trin­cham – a shared ven­ture with two other Olympians, Jess Var­nish and Liam Phillips.

She en­cour­aged those en­ter­ing ca­reers in elite sport to show emo­tion rather than re­press it, say­ing: “It’s ok to show emo­tion, just not to your com­peti­tors.

“I’ve bawled my eyes out on na­tional tele­vi­sion which wasn’t my finest mo­ment but learn­ing to vent to the right peo­ple at the right time made me stronger and bot­tling things up is never a good op­tion.”

Dr John Cater, vice-chan­cel­lor at Edge Hill Univer­sity, said: “In Jan­uary Francesca an­nounced her re­tire­ment.

“She moved back to the North West, hav­ing spent the best part of a decade with the Great Bri­tain elite squad at Lough­bor­ough, join­ing her part­ner, Jon Wilkin, who many of you will know as the cap­tain of St He­lens RLFC.

“She has been, with­out doubt, the pre-em­i­nent fe­male swim­mer of the past decade.

“It is a priv­i­lege to wel­come her back home.”

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