2015 French Long Course National Championships
- Dates: Friday, April 3 to Friday, April 10, 2015
- Times: prelims 9:30 am, finals 6:30 pm
- Location: Sydney Olympic Park (GMT +1, or 6 hours ahead of N.Y., 9 ahead of L.A.)
- Results: Available
- Championship Central
Women’s 800 Freestyle – Fastest Heat
- French Record: Laure Manaudou (Canet 66), 8:18.80, 2007
- 2014 National Champion: Coralie Balmy (Mulhouse), 8:29.10
- Kazan Qualifying Time: 8:34.30
Coralie Balmy of Mulhouse punched her third ticket to Kazan with an 8:31.10 win in the 800 free. Balmy had already made the team with her second-place finishes in the 200 and 400 free. In a reversal of the 400 free, Sharon van Rouwendaal of Netherlands/Sarcelles was runner-up to Balmy; she finished in 8:38.75.
Balmy negative-split her race by 2 seconds (4:16.58/4:14.52). Trailing van Rouwendaal by 1 second at the 200 and 3 seconds at the 400, Balmy began her descent at the halfway point and outsplit her opponent by 1/2 second, 1.5 seconds, 2.5 seconds, and 6 seconds over each of the 100s in the second half of the race. In the press conference Balmy said, “I really like races like that, where you come from behind. I didn’t know what to expect; I stepped it up and my body responded well. It’s been a while since I’ve done all three of those races at the championships. I have my 3 qualifications and I’m happy.”
While both Balmy and van Rouwendaal were off their entry times of 8:29, bronze medalist Julie Berthier of Mulhouse dropped 4.3 seconds to post a best time of 8:41.72 and make the podium.
Ireland’s Grainne Murphy was fourth in 8:41.99; she improved her seed time by 4 seconds. Aurélie Muller from Sarreguemines placed fifth in 8:46.81, ahead of Coralie Codevelle of Sarcelles (8:49.60), Monika Czerniak of Poland/Saint-Dizier (8:52.25), and Margaux Verger Gourson of Boulogne-Billancourt (8:52.63).
Men’s 200 Butterfly Final
- French Record: Franck Esposito (Antibes), 1:54.62, 2002
- 2014 National Champion: Jordan Coelho (Estampes), 1:56.95
- Kazan Qualifying Time: 1:57.00
Defending champion Jordan Coelho of Vanves/Paris-INSEP repeated his title in the men’s 200 fly, but missed the cutoff for Kazan by .99 with a final time of 1:57.99. Paul Lemaire of Toulouse was a half-second back in second, with a personal-best 1:58.50. Third place went to Montauban’s Marvin Maisonneuve, who just eked out a win over teammate Thomas Vilaceca, 1:59.42 to 1:59.69.
The rest of the “A” final consisted of Matthias Marsau (2:00.29) and Nans Roch (2:00.94) of Canet 66, Hugo Tormento of Mulhouse (2:03.30), and Romain Mrowinski of Cévennes Alès (2:05.04).
Women’s 200 Breaststroke Final
- French Record: Sophie de Ronchi (Massy), 2:25.19, 2009
- 2014 National Champion: Coralie Dobral (Montauban), 2:30.49
- Kazan Qualifying Time: 2:27.90
The French women, not known for their breaststroke prowess, put on a terrific race in the final of the 200 breast. Montpellier’s Fanny Deberghes led from the 100 to the end, but over the last 15-20 meters it looked like Lara Grangeon of Calédoniens would catch her. Deberghes had a 1.4-second lead over Grangeon at the 100, and was a half-second in front of Adeline Martin of Antibes. Grangeon turned it on over the second half, though. In third place at the 150 wall, she passed Martin coming down the final stretch and looked as though she might take her momentum all the way to a first-place finish, but Deberghes turned on the jets flags-to-the-wall and touched in 2:28.08, her best time by 1.6 seconds. Grangeon came in second with 2:28.34, and Martin was third in 2:29.33. Both Deberghes and Grangeon just missed the Kazan qualifying mark, but they raced well and both went sub-2:29 for the first time.
Fourth place went to Laura Paquit of Tarbes (2:31.35), who just out-touched Fantine Lesaffre of Mulhouse (2:31.59). Both women achieved best times. Defending champion Coralie Dobral of Montauban was sixth in 2:34.06, ahead of Claudia Kitching of Cannes (2:34.19) and Camille Dauba of Longwy (2:36.21).
Men’s 100 Freestyle Final
- French Record: Alain Bernard (Antibes), 46.94, 2009
- 2014 National Champion: Florent Manaudou (Marseille), 48.69
- Kazan Qualifying Time: 48.90
All the coaches interviewed leading up to the men’s 100 free finals predicted a winning time in the range of 48.2-48.5, with the exception of Romain Barnier who floated a possible 47.9. It was a loaded heat, with almost all the Royalty of French Swimming gathered to contest the crown: Jérémy Stravius (Amiens), Fabien Gilot (Marseille), Clément Mignon (Marseille), Yannick Agnel (Mulhouse), Mehdy Metella (Marseille), Lorys Bourelly (Toulouse), Grégory Mallet (Marseille), and Eddie Moueddene (Amiens). The only one missing was last year’s winner, Florent Manaudou of Marseille, who had elected to concentrate on 50s at this meet.
Gilot was out first and led for 85 meters, but at the very end Stravius got his hand to the wall first. The top four (Stravius -Gilot-Mignon-Agnel), in fact, finished practically together, separated only by .18, for the third through sixth top performances in the world so far this year. They touched in 48.50-48.53-48.58-48.68, respectively.
Marseille’s Metella had a great second-half but it wasn’t enough to crack the top 2, where most analysts had seen him finishing. He ended up fifth with 48.94, disappointing given that he has been 48.8 this year. Bourelly went 49.03, 9/10 better than his seed time. Mallet was 49.67 for seventh, and Moueddene went 50.26 to round out the field.
Women’s 50 Backstroke Final
- French Record: Laure Manaudou (Canet 66), 28.13, 2007
- 2014 National Champion: Béryl Gastaldello (Marseille), 28.73
- Kazan Qualifying Time: 28.60
The morning’s prelims race had given us reason to think the 50 back final would be very close, anyone’s game, really. Marseille’s Béryl Gastaldello had gone 28.74, Mathilde Cini of Valence/Paris-INSEP had been 28.88, not far ahead of Camille Gheorghiu of Antibes’ 28.90. In the final, though, it was Gastaldello all the way. The Texas A&M freshman got a fast start and remained ahead of the field by about a shoulder throughout the race. When she touched in 28.10, Gastaldello seemed to be the only one in Limoges who didn’t know she had just broken Laure Manaudou’s 2007 record by 3/100. “I didn’t expect it at all, it’s Mathilde (Cini) who told me,” she confessed in the post-race press conference. Cini finished second in 28.42, securing her second event for Kazan. Gheorghiu finished third in 28.64. All three medalists went personal bests.
Justine Ress of Antibes placed fourth in 28.97, her first sub-29. Marseille’s Auriane de Premilhat (29.18), Emma Terebo of Calédoniens (29.43), and teammates Pauline Mahieu (29.58) of St-André/Font-Romeu and Vochimié Koindredi (29.91) of Canet 66/Font-Romeu comprised the rest of the “A” final.