Some nice times went up in France this weekend in Amiens at the “Golden Lanes” event, where 8 winners split € 60,000 ($77,000) for sweeping event titles among the circuit’s three meets.
The stars of the meet were undeniably French swimmer Jeremy Stravius and Danish distance star Lotte Friis. Stravius, who is now representing the Amiens club officially in competition, won the 100 backstroke running-away in 53.70: the fastest long course time in the world this year. He had been a 54.0 in mid-February, and with this swim, just a few weeks from France’s World Championship Trials, puts himself in a good position to grab a spot at the World Championships in a crowded French backstroke group.
Italy’s Luca Marin won the 200 back in 2:03.16, without Stravius’ participation.
Instead, he took on some different events, and put up lifetime bests of 53.38 in the 100 fly and 1:59.87 in the 200 IM. Those are two races where he’s had some outstanding short course swims in his career, but hasn’t really explored much in long course.
In the 100 fly, Italian 21-year old Matteo Rivolta won in 52.98, ranked third in the world in 2012; Stravius easily won the IM.
Hungarian David Verraszto won the men’s 400 IM in 4:16.55.
The star of the women’s meet was Danish swimmer Lotte Friis. She’s good in Olympic years, but in odd-numbered years where she can truly attack her 1500 distance specialty, she seems to take her swimming to a new level. The defending 1500 World Champion zoomed to the top of the World Rankings in Amiens with a 16:01.41. That is 9 seconds better than the world’s previous fastest time – belonging to 15-year old American Becca Mann – and 16 seconds better than Friis herself was at a January stop of this series.
Friis would be the world’s biggest benificiary if the Olympics changed from an 800 to a 1500 for women as she is a veritable machine in this distance race. Her first 800 meters were an 8:26.96, which ranks 2nd in the world this year.
The women’s 200 free was one of the better head-to-head battles in this meet. One of Italy’s best, Alice Mizzau, won in 1:57.99, just ahead of one of France’s best Coralie Balmy in 1:58.07. They both have national roles that will reach far beyond their own performances headed toward Rio; if the two can continue succeeding, they will have better luck persuading their countries’ superstars (Federica Pellegrini and Camille Muffat, respectively) to focus on 800 free relay medals in 2016.
Other solid swims on the women’s side were a 25.47 in the 50 free from Olympic Nice 19-year old Anna Santamans.
The 8 big money winners were:
- Lotte Friis, 1500 free
- David Verraszto, 400 IM
- Fanny Babou, 100 Breast
- Jeremy Stravius, 100 Back/200 IM
- Anna Santamans, 50 Free
- Melanie Henique, 50 Fly
- Sarah Vaisse, 50 Breast
- Anthony Pannier, 800 Free