The 2013 French International Meet in Nancy, France, belies its name as it was a meet dominated almost exclusively by French swimmers. That is, except for the sprints, where the growing ADN Project training group was in attendance to challenge France’s best, and Olympic 50m champion, Florent Manaudou.
That 50 free was the clear highlight of this meet, with a slew of former Olympic finalists in the mix. Manaudou, Brazil’s Henrique Martins and Bruno Fratus, Russia’s Sergey Fesikov, one of Belgium’s best Yoris Grandjean, and even Spanish sprinter Rafael Munoz all took on this race.
In the end, though, it was the home-cooking from Manaudou that won in 21.62 – the fastest time in the world this year, just ahead of American Nathan Adrian. Fratus became the world’s third-swimmer under 22 seconds with a 21.92 for 2nd.
In behind them was Bousquet, now 31-years old, in 22.03, with Martins (22.61) and Fesikov (22.70).
Manaudou, who is still focusing almost exclusively on 50 meter races since the Olympics, didn’t swim the 100 free. That race wasn’t quite as speedy, but was won by Martins in 50.25. Fesikov took 2nd in 50.47, and Gregory Mallet and William Meynard tied for 3rd in 50.48.
Manaudou did win two other 50 meter races however: the 50 backstroke (24.95) and the 50 fly (23.70), the latter ahead of the World Record holder Munoz (23.93).
The young French sprinter didn’t swim the 50 breaststroke at this meet, but he’s certainly capable of winning that race as well. It’s always a dicey game in 50 meter races, but there’s an outside chance that he could sweep the 50 meter races this summer in Barcelona at the World Championships.
- Henrique Martins (53.08) bested Rafa Munoz (53.37) in the 100 fly. That’s easily the best time Munoz has been this early in the year ever in his career – an encouraging sign for a swimmer who has really fallen from his global perch since the rubber suits went away.
- Coralie Balmy won the women’s 400 free in 4:07.93 – just missing another world-best time by about two-tenths of a second. She had a more traditional spread than we see from some of the best middle-distance freestylers these days, going 2:01-2:06. Balmy was also 1:58.19 in the 200 free.
- Jeremy Stravius won the 100 backstroke in 54.03, bettering Camille Lacourt in 54.43,
- Giacomo Perez-Dortona dominated the breaststroke events as the country’s new top man in the event. He topped the 50 in 28.03, and the 100 in 1:01.02. He’s often very fast early in the year, but these times are already approaching his lifetime bests.