French Swimming Star Camille Muffat Calls It Quits; Announces She Will Not Be At European Championships

  37 Anne Lepesant | July 11th, 2014 | Europe, Featured, International, News

pinit fg en rect gray 28 French Swimming Star Camille Muffat Calls It Quits; Announces She Will Not Be At European Championships

The European swimming world was scratching their collective head last weekend when Camille Muffat, one of France’s most decorated swimmers and the anchor of its current women’s national team, picked up and left the French Open citing “personal reasons.”

Today the 24-year-old Muffat announced she is quitting the sport.

Something took place between Muffat and her coach Fabrice Pellerin, last Wednesday, July 2, that pushed her over the edge. “I’m not angry at anyone,” Muffat told L’Equipe, France’s sports newspaper.

Muffat had trained under Pellerin at Olympic Nice Natation since she was 12 years old. ONN was a real powerhouse leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games with Yannick Agnel, Clément Lefert and Charlotte Bonnet, among others, on the roster.

This is a huge blow to the French team as it gets ready for the European Championships in Berlin. Muffat had qualified in the 50-100-200-400 free and 100 fly. “I can’t continue for the team; it’s not in my temperament. It’s so clear in my head; it would be a shame. Yes, I was on a lot of relays and I realize I will be missed, but I am hoping they can do it without me.”

Muffat’s early retirement and absence from the European Championships roster will make more of an impact on France’s prospects when you take Camille Lacourt’s ongoing injury into account. Lacourt may be able to swim the 50 backstroke at best, but his injury is problematic.

Muffat is a three-time Olympic medalist and former World Record holder. She held both the 400 SCM freestyle and 800 SCM freestyle World Records from November of 2012 to August of 2013.

As a two-time French Olympian in 2008 and 2012, she appeared in multiple Olympic finals. Her highest finish at the 2008 Beijing Olympics was fifth as a member of the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay. In the 2012 London Olympics, she won a gold medal in the women’s 400 freestyle, setting a new Olympic record in the process. She earned a silver medal in the women’s 200 meter freestyle, and a bronze medal as a member of the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay.

She was also the third Frenchwoman in history to earn 3 medals in a summer or winter Olympic Games.

Outside of the pool, she was named the 2012 French Sportswoman of the Year.

Comments

  1. Bobthebuilderrocks says:
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    Bobo, don’t be sad….

    • bobo gigi says:
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      :lol:
      I’m surprised like most of you but it’s not the end of the world!

      • bobo gigi says:
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        Much of the talk here in France is especially about the system Pellerin at Nice.

        OMG! They have built a new pool at Nice for Agnel and Muffat.
        The city has many debts.
        And now Agnel and Muffat are not in Nice anymore! :lol:

        • Diana says:
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          I saw a picture of Camille Muffatt putting mortar onto a cinderblock for a “new pool”. Is that the pool you are saying was built for her & Agnell?

  2. Lane Four says:
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    WHY?????????????? This can’t be!

    • RL says:
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      Bobo: What’s the deal? Please fill us in!!! I always love your comments :)

      • bobo gigi says:
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        Thanks but I’m not much more aware than you.
        She talks about a dispute with her coach a few days ago but it seems deeper than that.

  3. Philip Johnson says:
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    I wonder if Ledecky has anything to do with this?

    • Dee says:
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      No, In the nicest way possible, the world doesn’t revolve around Kathleen, as brilliant as she is!

      Shame to see her go – I wanted to see her take a run at the 200IM again, she had all the tools.

  4. 6
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    I think something transpired at the French Open which she doesnt want to share with the rest of the world at this stage…

    • Bossanova says:
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      If you’re in the know, please share and set it in stone. Otherwise you’re just asking for rumours.

  5. PVK says:
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    Frankly, it’s no one’s business what happened except Ms Muffat’s, and people need to respect that. You don’t know what is happening in someone’s life until you’re in it, so judging is the wrong move.

  6. liquidassets says:
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    Anyone else get the feeling this is her “first” retirement and that we may see a comeback in the works by the end of the year or early next year?

    • beachmouse says:
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      I hope she doesn’t turn in the anti-doping paperwork just yet. Better to take the summer off and learn to windsurf on the Med or surf in Australia something and do some thinking instead of trying to go forward in the pool when things have really gone wrong somehow.

      And then maybe over the winter give swimming a try again. Plenty of places for an elite swimmer to go these days when they want to make a radical change in scenery and training environment.

      Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes, as the song goes

  7. Jg says:
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    In 2007 no- one really thought another Frenchwoman just 2 years younger would overtake Laure . No one thought 200 imer Camille could swim historic mid distance times & swim those legendary entertaining negative splits at 23 .

    It would not be easy to be female aquatic star in France in the wake of Manadou but Camille has held high standards of deportment .

  8. 1
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    On no such a shame. I think that there is more to this story but we shall see

  9. aswimfan says:
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    It is sad that this is the second time in a row a brilliant French female swimming star tendered their early resignation.
    Something must be not quite right when their two brightest female stars quit early and their male stars are training overseas (agnel, lacourt, etc).

  10. jiggsar says:
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    Jeah, I hope bobo doesn’t quit swimswam over this… or the present perfect. She’ll be back in 2015 with a new coach.

  11. DanishSwimFan says:
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    This is really sad for swimming, Camille is someone I’ve always enjoyed watching with her lovely smooth stroke and the way she is able to just put her foot down and go away from other swimmers without any apparent increase in effort. I was looking forward to seeing her back on form and putting up some great swims in Berlin.

    Obviously the decision to quit is hers and hers alone, but I hope she follows Beachmouse’s advice and takes some time away before deciding for good. It would be a shame to lose a swimmer of her quality to a decision made in the heat of whatever incident has provoked this.

    Have to wonder what is going on with Pellerin too. He’s obviously a great coach, but that’s two Olympic champions he’s had spectacular fallings out with. These things happen all the time, I guess they get more of a spotlight on them with the stature of the swimmers involved, but something seems to be going a bit awry there.

    At least France have Manaudou and Stravius to carry them on in Berlin, and the full development of Charlotte Bonnet to look forward to, she looks the real thing, but I am very sorry for our French friends on here with this sad news.

  12. petriasfan says:
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    Like all, I hope Muffat doesn’t turn in the anti-doping paperwork and therefore make her wait a 9-month period if and when she decides to make a return. I don’t know why, but some swimmers need to take a season’s rest from the sport to reassess their goals and regain that hunger to win again. Some swimmers simply grow tired of the sport and you can tell based on their results. Muffat, Pellegrini, Rice, Steffen, Cseh, Magnini, Palmer etc are a few examples.

    Missing selection for Beijing 2008 was a blessing in disguise for Dana Vollmer. She had to rediscover that hunger to win. And win she did, big time. I’m hoping we can say the same for Katie Hoff. She had a break from the sport and has come back with some really impressive times this season. I think Hoff will make the Pan Pacs and 2015 World Champs cut for the 200m IM and relay duties in the 4x200m free.

    Back to France and Europe, I can only think of 2, if not 3, people who will benefit from Muffat quitting the sport – Bonnet, Pellegrini (Federica’s medal prospect for 2014 Euros – well at least a gold or silver – has just increased) and Balmy. I can’t think of anyone else who will be affected by Muffat’s quitting – possibly the 5th fastest 200m free french woman.

    • Joe says:
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      Well every country racing the 4×200 free will benefit. France just got 4-5 seconds worse in that relay.

      • petriasfan says:
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        True to that. The Chinese and the Brits will most likely be the beneficiaries of Muffat’s decision.

  13. bobo gigi says:
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    Camille, French swimming will miss you a lot.

    I’m surprised and a little stunned like most of you.
    I didn’t see that coming right in the middle of the season!
    She looked better and better throughout this season.
    It’s a little incomprehensible.
    Why now?
    But it’s her decision and I respect that.
    Of course I’ve remarked like many of you that she’s the 4th big name after Yannick Agnel, Lotte Friis and Pernille Blume to quit Fabrice Pellerin. Fabrice Pellerin is a fantastic freestyle coach with tremendous results. Yannick Agnel has swum his best races with him. Lotte Friis has destroyed her best times with him. Camille Muffat was a great IMer and has become 400 free olympic champion in a few years. All these swimmers have improved a lot their swimming technique thanks to Mr Pellerin. But it’s not pure coincidence when so many champions quit a coach or even retire like Camille. Hard training methods? Yes probably but he isn’t alone on earth to be harsh. Very hard relationships? I don’t know. We don’t know anything.
    She was very close to Yannick. Perhaps his depart last year has been tough for her.
    She isn’t blind too and has seen the reality last summer in Barcelona with much younger swimmers than her like Missy Franklin or Katie Ledecky who are very very very fast.
    She talks about a dispute with her coach a few days ago. Ok so why not simply change the coach if there’s a problem with him. If she retires, the reason looks much deeper than a simple dispute.
    She didn’t have probably the fire since London anymore. She reached her ultimate goal with the olympic gold medal in 2012. What could she expect more then?
    It requires such a huge training, such sacrifices.
    Again, that’s her decision and I respect that.

    Thanks for the great moments of joy you brought to French sport and good luck for the rest of your life.

    Little tribute. Women’s 400 free olympic final in 2012.

    • Dee says:
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      I don’t know any answers, but I feel this could be akin to Rebecca Adlington. Once she knew Bill wasn’t going to be able to coach her anymore, she decided she’d rather not go on without him. I think (Correct me if I am wrong) Fabrice has essentially been Camille’s life long coach? Born and bred in Nice. Perhaps, if there has been this dispute you speak of, perhaps Camille doesn’t feel able to work with Fabrice any longer and would rather retire than find a new coach? We’ve seen before, Camille has all the talent in the world, but she had seemed to struggle with the emotional/mental aspects of being a professional athlete. Could she find that psychological harmony she had with Fabrice easily with another coach? We have to remember, Camille has spent her whole life in Nice, it wouldn’t be easy for her to just “Change latitudes” as one poster so eloquently suggested. I hope she comes back nonetheless.

  14. SwimFanFinland says:
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    Extremely sad news…

    The most effortless and beautiful freestyle stroke on the women’s side. But I’m an optimist. She’ll be back.

    • bobo gigi says:
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      I know you love her a lot. :sad:
      But she’s not dead! :)
      A come back? Possible. Other big names said they’d retire for ever :mrgreen:
      But Camille swims the 200 free and the 400 free.
      It’s not sprint.
      Very hard to come back in these distances after a long break.

  15. Josh says:
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    I’d like to see her have a change of heart and end up training with Phillippe Lucas. He obviously knows these events very well.

    Also, I hope that no longer being in Camille’s spotlight slingshots Coralie Balmy forward and on to medal-winning times. She’s now going to be the veteran captain of the French women’s team. She’s been remarkably consistent and posts her best times at big meets, but seems to fall just short of the dais. Let’s hope that she can be the leader France’s women’s team needs and gets a chance to shine.

    • bobo gigi says:
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      With Lucas for a comeback?
      I don’t know if she would see that as good idea. :lol:
      And he trains Pellegrini for Rio.

      The women’s French swimming is now almost all on the shoulders of Coralie Balmy and especially the young Charlotte Bonnet who represents, in my opinion, the only French olympic medal chance on the women’s side in 2016. Camille Muffat is still alive but the 4X200 free relay is dead today with the retirement of Camille.

      • Josh says:
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        I will never be a Pellegrini fan. I will never forgive her for her role in the unraveling of Laure Manaudou. I would love for Muffat to join Lucas’ squad and destroy her every day in workout and subsequently in meets.

  16. Frenchteamfan says:
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    I’m very disappointed about Camille’s choice because I think that for all of the french relay (especially the 4x200free) she can’t give up in such a

  17. Frenchteamfan says:
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    Hi everybody !
    I was very disappointed about Camille’s choice, because I think that if she wanted to stop swimming, she should do it after the european championship because now she is killing the 4x200free relay which was excellent with her this year ( Camille would swim 1:55, charlotte 1.56 Balmy 1.56 or 1.57 and the very very Young Chloé Hache(1997) swam 1.59.5 in the french championship) Now without her the gold medal is over. I think it will be to the Great Britain ! However, I respect her choice, I am a swimmer and I know that’s swimming is a very strict sport which could speedly become boring. For me, Camille took this decision because she discovered that at 24 years old, she was not as good as younger ladies like Ledecky Franklin Carlin, Popova etc etc .. Plus, this year she had been beaten many times by the Young french women Bonnet !
    It’s difficult to say that Pellerin’s technic is complicated. In my opinion, Muffat was disgusted in swimming just after her 7th place in the 400free in Barcelona !
    The french women team wil now be run by Charlotte and Balmy. But the Young generation wich is coming is very good ! I think that the french women team will be powerful in 2016.
    I hope that you’ll understand what i’m trying to say because I’m french and I’m just 16 ! Bye everybody !

    • Miran Herceg says:
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      Hello. I am from Croatia and big big fan of Camille and I am verry sorry to hear she retired. I dont know true reason but now French swimming is ruined. I am swimmer to but really dont understand her.

    • Miran Herceg says:
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      And I am interested if you know in what form are Balmy and Bonnet and where is swimer Ophelie Cyril Etienne? I dont see her in very long time.

      • FRENCHTEAMFAN says:
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        Hi !
        Well Balmy is great now last month she swam around 4:06 at the 400 meter freestyle and 1.58 in the 200m after a difficult training in moutain. However, I think it will be not fast enough to be in the podium. Carlin, Belmonte and Pellegrini had much faster time this season. Or Coralie must be at her best level as in London where she swam 4.03.66 in the heats.To my ming, Bonnet is the new french swiming star. In my opinion she is able to swim around 1:56. Once again, the podium is out for me.(Siobban, Popova, Pellegrini, why not Hoszu, and of course, Sjöström) But for Rio, I think that she could be an olympian medallist. As I said precedently, the gold medal in the 4×200 meter freestyle is over without Camille. However, we have now Young ladies who swim very fast 200meter freestyle: Cloé Hache (1997) record at 1:59.76 Camille Georghiu (1996) record at 1.59.16 or again Mabboux Isabelle (1993) record at 1:59.31.
        Regarding Ophélie she is in a quite good form but not good enough to be competitive at Berlin. Her season best is 2.00.51.(she is in the relay with Balmy Bonnet Hache and Mabboux) But she passed her exam for her job and she got it. So she could now be competitiv and could make good performances for Rio or Kazan next year.
        So I think that the 4×200 meter freestyle will not be good enough at Berlin to win the gold medallist. The silver medal is of course possible (For me, except the GB 4×200 the other relays are bad: Italy Hungarian Russia except one swimmer, the others girl are almost swimming 2minutes))But it will be excellent for me in Rio as it was in London ;)

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About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four teenage daughters, all of whom swim. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently a …

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