Francesca Halsall and Siobhan-Marie O’Connor put on an exciting spectacle for the crowds on the opening night of the inaugural Manchester International Meet.
World bronze medallist O’Connor kicked off the first evening session of the short course meet with a 2:06.92 effort in her favourite 200m Individual Medley, touching in the third fastest time of her career.
There was plenty of anticipation for the 19-year old’s first of two clashes with Halsall on the night as the pair lined up against each other in the 50m Butterfly final.
And it was Halsall who drew first blood in the two-length fly sprint, touching just 0.14 seconds shy of her British record in 25.43 as O’Connor collected silver in a PB 25.52, becoming the second fastest Brit in history for that event in the process.
O’Connor had the chance to turn the tables in the 100m Freestyle, but once again it was Halsall who took top honours, coming home in 52.58 as O’Connor ducked under 53 seconds for the first time for silver in 52.98.
Other impressive winners on the opening night were City of Sheffield’s Nick Grainger, re-enforcing his claim for an Olympic 4x200m Freestyle Relay spot with a PB 1:44.89 for the 200m Free crown, and Bath’s Lizzie Simmonds, who was just 0.23 seconds off her British record as the won the 100m Backstroke in 56.72.