2015 French Long Course National Championships
- Dates: Tuesday, March 31 – Sunday, April 5, 2015
- Times: prelims 9:00 am, semis/ finals 4:45 pm
- Location: Limoges, France (GMT +1, or 6 hours ahead of N.Y., 9 ahead of L.A.)
- Results: Available
- Championship Central
Men’s 800 Freestyle
- French Record: Sébastien Rouault (Mulhouse), 7:48.28, 2010
- 2014 National Champion: Anthony Pannier (Sarcelles), 7:56.11
- Kazan Qualifying Time: 7:57.69
The opening of Day Three brought the first meet record, when Damien Joly won the final heat of the 800 free in 7:51.74 to earn a berth for Kazan. The Antibes distance star dropped more than 5 seconds from his entry time and got the win by 4.5 seconds over Joris Bouchaut of Toulouse (7:56.39) and defending champion, Anthony Pannier of Sarcelles (7:59.95).
Bouchaut punched his ticket to Kazan as well, dropping 1.2 seconds and coming in well under the qualifying standard.
The rest of the top eight comprised Nicolas D’Oriano of Toulouse (8:00.04), M.A. Olivier of Porte du Hainaut (8:06.23), Krzysztof Pielowski of Poland/Saint-Dizier, who was the fastest from the morning (8:06.50), Axel Reymond of Fontainebleau-Avon (8:09.05), and Benoît Debast from Sarcelles (8:09.26).
Men’s 200 Individual Medley
- French Record: Jérémy Stravius (Amiens), 1:57.89, 2013
- 2014 National Champion: Ganesh Pedurand (Toulouse), 2:02.50
- Kazan Qualifying Time: 1:59.99
Defending champion and top seed Ganesh Pedurand of Toulouse won the men’s 200 IM in 2:01.83. Although he was nearly a second faster than last year and a full second ahead of runner-up Guillaume Laure of Antibes (2:02.81), Pedurand did not make the Kazan cut. Cyril Chatron of Bron placed third in 2:03.36.
Théo Berry of Vallée-de-Chevreuse led the rest of the field, all of whom were tightly bunched together. Berry touched in 2:04.12, exactly 2 seconds faster than his seed time. Ambroise Petit of Nice was fifth in 2:04.27, representing a 3.4-second drop from his previous best time. Yannick Chatelain of Nîmes went a best 2:04.49 for sixth.
17-year-old Tanguy Lesparre of Cannes placed seventh in 2:04.97, just off his prelims time which broke the French national age group record for 17-year-old boys. Rounding out the final was Damien Gwizdz of Canet 66, who finished with 2:05.42.
Jean Dencausse of Marseille won the “B” final with 2:04.49, a 2.9-second improvement from his seed time.
With all the talent in individual strokes in France, it is almost surprising there are rarely any IMers representing France in international competition. However, this new crop of young swimmers, such as Dencausse and Lesparre, have continued to improve consistently and show great promise for the future of France’s IM pool.
Women’s 200 Butterfly
- French Record: Aurore Mongel (Mulhouse), 2:05.09, 2009
- 2014 National Champion: Lara Grangeon (Calédoniens), 2:11.57
- Kazan Qualifying Time: 2:09.40
After qualifying in the 200 IM on Day One, Lara Grangeon added another event to her Kazan slate by winning the 200 fly in 2:08.68. That is nearly 3 seconds faster than her winning time last year. Grangeon and Sharon Van Rouwendaal of Netherlands/Sarcelles put on a thrilling show in the middle of the pool. Grangeon went out in 29.1 to lead by half a body length at the 50, but Van Rouwendaal caught her at the 100 and they turned together at 1:01.9. The Dutchwoman moved up by a half-body length at the 150. The final 50 down the stretch was possibly the closest race of the meet so far, and full of excitement as Grangeon put everything she had into her close; she out-touched Van Rouwendaal at the very end, 2:08.68 to 2:08.74. Third place went to Nice’s Marie Wattel in 2:09.87, a lifetime best by 2.5 seconds and only just off the Kazan mark.
Mulhouse’s Camille Wishaupt, the youngest “A” finalist, was fourth in a lifetime-best 2:14.35. Elodie Delamare of Lille went 2:14.80 for fifth, a best time by 1.8 seconds. Morgan Rothon of Dijon was sixth in 2:16.75. Alice Aubry of Châlons, who was entered with a 2:23, went 2:17.54 for seventh, and Estelle Prioville of Nogent was eighth in 2:18.28.
Men’s 50 Breaststroke
- French Record: Giacomo Perez Dortona (Marseille), 27.36, 2009
- 2014 National Champion: Florent Manaudou (Marseille), 27.66
- Kazan Qualifying Time: 27.58
Giacomo Perez Dortona of Marseille crushed the field in the 50 breast but missed the Kazan standard by 1/100, touching in 27.59. Still, it was his second national title in two events. Thomas Dahlia of Antibes, who was runner-up to Perez Dortona in the 100 breast, finished second in 28.39. Thibaut Capitaine of Cergy Pontoise moved up from seventh after prelims to third in finals with a lifetime-best 28.53.
Vincent Dassie of Bordeaux Bastide put up a PB of 28.55 to finish fourth, just ahead of Yvan Mandalinic of Sarcelles (28.64), Jonas Coreelman of Lille (28.68), Vincent Clement from Avignon (28.70), and Stéphane Debaere of Talence (28.73). Dencausse of Marseille was fourth in the “B” final in back-to-back events.
Women’s 200 Freestyle
- French Record: Camille Muffat (Nice), 1:54.66, 2012
- 2014 National Champion: Camille Muffat (Nice), 1:57.05
- Kazan Qualifying Time: 1:58.70
Charlotte Bonnet picked up her third gold medal of the meet with a 1:56.86 in the women’s 200 free. This is Bonnet’s bread-and-butter event, and given the big swims she has had over the past two days, one might have expected something really special in this race. But she put up a great time, sliding into the world’s top 5, and came in well under the Kazan mark. Also qualifying for Kazan was runner-up Coralie Balmy, whose 1:57.49 finals swim was 2/10 faster than her seed time. Nice’s Cloé Hache occupied the third rung of the podium, dropping 9/10 to touch at 1:58.97.
Margaux Fabre of Montauban, who was entered with 2:01.6 and went 2:01.0 in prelims, dropped an impressive 1:59.42 to finish fourth. Ophélie-Cyrielle Etienne of Lille was fifth in 2:00.69. Alizée Morel of Nice (2:01.55), Assia Touati of Toulouse (2:01.84), and Isabelle Mabboux of Boulogne-Billancourt (2:02.81) made up the rest of the final.
Men’s 50 Backstroke
- French Record: Camille Lacourt (Marseille), 24.07, 2010
- 2014 National Champion: Camille Lacourt (Marseille), 24.37
- Kazan Qualifying Time: 25.40
What a lot of backstroke talent there is in France. For the first time in three days of competition, each of the top four finishers in a race made the cut for Kazan. The 50 back went more or less according to script, with Marseille’s Camille Lacourt grabbing the gold in front of Jérémy Stravius of Amiens and Florent Manaudou of Marseille. That’s three of the top swimmers in the world vying for two spots on the Kazan roster. And all three of them, plus fourth-place Eddie Moueddene of Amiens, made the cut.
This was a much-anticipated meet-up for Camille Lacourt and Jérémy Stravius, who seem to find themselves in lanes 4 and 5 of just about every backstroke race in France, and sometimes on the international stage as well. The longtime rivals actually tied for the gold medal at the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai. On Tuesday, Lacourt lost to Stravius in the 100 back and failed to qualify for Kazan. In the press conference following the medals ceremony, Lacourt talked about his disappointment and vowed to channel his efforts, and concentration, on the shorter distance.
Coming into the mix here in Limoges is Florent Manaudou, who at 6’7+ is a sprint specialist. Although he’s only truly been training backstroke for the last year or so, Manaudou broke the world record in the SCM 50 back at 2014 FINA Short Course World Championships in December. That said, the difference between 50 meters in a short course pool and a long course pool is a wall, and as the wall goes, so goes Manaudou’s advantage.
That, and the fact that the 50 is perhaps Lacourt’s surest event, put the odds in favor of a Lacourt-Stravius-Manaudou finish. And that’s exactly how it went, in 24.56-24.70-24.77, for the leading times in the world so far this year. Moueddene was fourth with 25.40, exactly at the cutoff point for Kazan.
Thibault Delecluse of Lille was fifth in 25.74, just ahead of Paul Pijulet of Pontault-Roissy/Paris-INSEP (25.76). Paul-Gabriel Bedel of Marseille went 26.21 for seventh, and Jordan Pothain of Nautic Club ALP ’38 rounded out the final with 26.52.