2019 French Elite National Championships – 50M
- Tuesday 16th to Sunday 21st April 2019
- Prelims from 9.30am; final C from 18:00; final A / B from 18h30
- Host: Brittany Regional Swimming League
- Bréquigny swimming pool, 12 boulevard Albert 1er, RENNES
- French qualifying rules for 2019 World Championships
- Start list: available here
- Results: available here
Day 5: Saturday 20 April 2019
It’s official. Despite a deep field of women’s 100 freestylers in France this year, with six swimmers under 55 seconds in the final, the French Federation (“FFN”) determined that its women did not satisfy the selection criteria and thus France would not field a 4×100 free relay at 2019 World Championships in Gwangju.
According to the FFN’s selection rules, the Federation would invite the first five swimmers out of 100 free heats at the 2019 National Championships in Rennes, if the add-up times from prelims of swimmers #2 through #5 were equal to, or faster than, 3:38.24.
The women’s 100 free prelims were highly competitive for another reason, as well. With Charlotte Bonnet already prequalified for Gwangju because of her top-3 finish in the 100 free at 2018 European Championships, everyone else was vying for the second individual spot on the Worlds team. To qualify, they had to swim 54.32 or better in prelims and finish in the top 2 in finals.
The same four women who finished 2nd through 5th in 2018 did so again in 2019, albeit in a different order. And they were faster. Last year’s add-up time of #2 through #5 was 3:38.58 in prelims. This year, they went 3:38.33. Although they missed the standard by .09, each of the women went faster yet again in finals.
|Prelims||Add-up time 2-5||Final||Add-up time 2-5|
|1||Charlotte Bonnet||53.63||Charlotte Bonnet||53.29|
|2||Marie Wattel||54.30||Béryl Gastaldello||53.84|
|3||Béryl Gastaldello||54.32||Marie Wattel||54.29|
|4||Anouchka Martin||54.81||Lena Bousquin||54.45|
|5||Margaux Fabre||54.90||Anouchka Martin||54.59|
Also written into the FFN’s selection guidelines was Rule 2.8: “The [final] decision remains at the discretion of the National Technical Director [DTN].” This left open the possibility that Julien Issoulié might use his discretion to name the women to the Worlds team, but at a press conference at the end of finals on Saturday, Issoulié extinguished all hope with a resounding “non.” Issoulié seemed to stand on principle with his reasoning. He said in the press conference:
“We have chosen to apply a criterion that has been carefully considered. The logic for the relay is identical to that of the individual events. Going forward, what interests me is knowing what we will put in place so that our women swim faster and no longer find themselves in this kind of situation. That is the question we asked ourselves because it’s not about the World Championships in Korea, but the Tokyo Games next year.”
So the French women’s 4×100 free relay, which earned a gold medal at the 2018 European Championships with 3:34.65 (Marie Wattel 54.35, Bonnet 52.20, Margaux Fabre 54.41, Béryl Gastaldello 53.69) will not take part in the World Championships this summer.