2016 French Elite Nationals in Montpellier: Day 1 Finals Live Recap

2016 French Elite Long Course National Championships and Olympic Trials Selection Meet

  • Dates: Tuesday, March 29 – Sunday, April 3, 2016
  • Times: prelims 9:00 am, finals 6:15 pm
  • Location: Montpellier, France (GMT +1, or 6 hours ahead of N.Y., 9 ahead of L.A.)
  • Live results: Available
  • Live streaming: Available on beIN Sports
  • Championship Central


Men’s 1500 Meter Freestyle – Fastest Heat

  • French record: 14:55.17 8/11/2010 Budapest (HUN), Sébastien Rouault (24), Mulhouse ON
  • French standard for Rio: 14:57.19
  • French standard for Europe : 15:11.86

Antibes distance star Damien Joly, who had been expected not only to win this event but punch the first French pool ticket for Rio (open water swimmers have already qualified), won the 1500 in 14:59.42. Joly started out on pace to break the French record and make the Rio team, but he let up in the middle and with no one anyone nearby to provide competition, he was not able to maintain the pace alone. Joly has been 14:56.13, so it was a disappointing swim for him.

Toulouse 19-year-old Nicolas D’Oriano, on the other hand, had a big swim, dropping 7 seconds and finishing runner-up with 15:06.31. Hungarian Gergely Gyurta, about 10 seconds off his seed time, placed third in 15:07.26.

Another pair of Olympic hopefuls, Anthony Pannier of Sarcelles and Joris Bouchaut of Toulouse, finished fourth and fifth with 15:15.94 and 15:22.38, respectively. The top two times of the morning, Paul Barascud of Marseille (15:22.95) and Théo Cacheux of Mulhouse (15:24.31), moved up to sixth and seventh overall. Mathis Castera of Toulouse was eighth in 15:25.86.

Women’s 400 Meter Individual Medley

  • French record: 4:37.55 4/5/2015 Limoges (FRA), Lara Grangeon (24), CN Calédoniens
  • French standard for Rio: 4:35.40
  • French standard for Europe: 4:44.16

After the crowd’s disappointment when Joly failed to better his time and make the Rio team, optimism filled the air for the only other race of Day 1 in which there were expectations for a French qualification. Lara Grangeon of Calédoniens/Font-Romeu has had a terrific year, making great improvement and, notably, finaling in this event at Kazan. Grangeon swam an excellent race, improving her personal best and lowering the French national record which she set at this meet last year. Her winning 4:36.61 missed the cutoff for Rio by 1.2 seconds, though, and the crowd once again was deflated. And suddenly all the talk was about the “fairness” of the standards for Rio. Grangeon was gracious in her post-race interview, however; she preferred to concentrate on the positive aspects of her race, including the fact that she broke the (her own) national record for the second time in her career.

Mulhouse’s Fantine Lesaffre was runner-up in 4:39.73, 3.2 seconds faster than her third-place finish last year. Coralie Codevelle of Sarcelles took the third step of the podium with 4:47.75, a mere .03 ahead of Cyrielle Duhamel of Stade Béthune Pélican Club. Duhamel lowered her own national age group record for 16-year-old girls with 4:47.78.

Romania’s Claudia Gadea (4:58.61), Morgan Rothon of Dijon (4:58.66), Alexia Saurel of Nantes (1:59.99), and Alice Aubry of Metz (5:00.35) rounded out the final.

Men’s 200 Meter Individual Medley

  • French record: 1:57.89 4/11/2013 Rennes (FRA), Jérémy Stravius (25), Amiens Métropole Natation 11/04/2013
  • French standard for Rio: 1:58.09
  • French standard for Europe: 2:00.79

Jeremy Stravius scratched the final, validating the theory that his morning swim was a warm-up. That left defending champion Ganesh Pedurand of Toulouse to go after the spot for Rio, although it must be said that no one in the field had ever been under 2:00 and Pedurand himself had never gone sub-2:01. He did it tonight, though, with a solid 2:00.52 to win the gold medal and earn the title of National Champion.

Cyril Chatron of Bron/Font-Romeu clocked a 2:03.05 to move up to second place, ahead of young Antibes star Guillaume Laure (2:04.05). Tunisia’s Taki M’rabet, who trains at Courbevoie, was just behind with 2:04.25. Ambroise Petit of Nice (2:04.55), Geoffrey Renard of Toulouse (2:05.30), Tanguy Lesparre of Cannes/Paris INSEP (2:05.66), and Damien Gwizdz of Canet 66/Font-Romeu (2:06.24) made up the rest of the final.

Women’s 100 Meter Butterfly

  • French record: 56.89 7/27/2009 Rome (ITA), Aurore Mongel (27), Mulhouse ON
  • French standard for Rio: 57.67
  • French standard for Europe: 59.02

This was a tough final. No way around it. The FINA A qualifying time is 58.74, but the French standard for Rio is 57.67. American record-holder Kelsi Worrell won the event under that barrier with 57.52, but the two French hopefuls both fell between the French and FINA standards. Nice’s Marie Wattel was second in 58.38, while Marseille’s Béryl Gastaldello went 58.48 for third. Wattel was very critical of the French standards in her post-race interview; the elephant in the room is now on everyone’s lips and has begun to tarnish the meet.

Justine Bruno of Beauvaisis/Amiens (59.91), Laurine Del’homme of CN Paris/INSEP (1:00.11), Anais Arlandis of Nice (1:01.25), Enora Collet of Rennes (1:01.93), and Margo Fabre of Aqualove Sauvetage Montpellier (1:02.94) rounded out the A final.




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8 years ago

is it the Kelsi Worrell’s best time?

Reply to  shibly
8 years ago

No- Kelsi went 57.24 last July. But this is a pretty good time, esp with jet lag, post NCAA letdown, etc. I think Kelsi will give Dana a run for the money come June!

8 years ago

Maybe it is a good sign . I notice a top Belgian criterium cyclist died of a heart attack at 23 . . I actually think poorer performances than expected is a good thing being mindful of PEDs &/or training methods. Maybe they won’t go to Rio but maybe they will live.

Reply to  Gina
8 years ago

You never cease to come up with examples entirely unrelated to the topic…

Reply to  swimming
8 years ago

I for one love Gina’s comments. I never have a clue what she’s talking about but they make me chuckle every time

Reply to  swimming
8 years ago

Very few people can get those Q times without doping or extreme training regimes. Cyclists dying at 23 is the canary in the mine – especially cyclists in the regions close to France -as a previous spate was the impetus to investigate EPO.

Imo either in the absence of PEDs this cyclist has had to undergo mortality taxing training regime or Belgium has found a new drug.

There is no shame in being in the next category for France behind Olympic rep . We used to understand the 4 years cycle made it a rarity now it is some sort of right?

Reply to  Gina
8 years ago

Wow, that’s a wildly random conjecture….which seems to be your normal mode, based on a few of your previous posts I’ve seen. There’s a well-recognized medical phenomenon called exercise-induced arrhythmia that, in a small percentage of high-level athletes, remains silent until a fatal event. I know these chat rooms are great for throwing out unsubstantiated claims, but maybe next time pause and think for a moment before hitting “post comment.”

Reply to  hambone
8 years ago

Sure. EPO deaths in Dutch & Belgian cyclists were just unsubstantiated .

David Berkoff
8 years ago

Bobo, can you translate to French and send to the NGB.

“Momma always said, ‘Stupid is as stupid does.'” Forrest Gump.

Apparently the French leadership is content having their swimmers watch the Rio Games from home. The mindset of their leadership is well… just stupid.

8 years ago

Stravius’s fly was nasty 24.3 even phelps would be proud to take it out that fast. Why isn’t he swimming fly? Also 26.9 coming home 50 wth? Why doesn’t he aim for the world record with splits like that? But a 40 breaststroke split lol haha.

8 years ago

Maybe they want only Olympic medal contenders (or at least finalists) to represent France at the Olympics. Who knows? It’s not clear to me that this is a good strategy. I’m sure it’s not a question of money.

Reply to  DL
8 years ago

I think the French swimmers would perform better if the best swimmers could qualify easily, and then put full focus and taper toward the Olympics. But I think I am preaching to the choir on this board.

8 years ago

Hey, how come Kelsi Worrell swam this meet? Can anybody (non-French) swim in their olympic qualifying meet? This is their version of “US Trials,” right? Or is there another meet later on.

Reply to  calswimfan
8 years ago

calswimfan – we wrote about this during NCAAs, but basically yes, anybody can swim the meet, there are just restrictions on how many can qualify for finals: http://swimswam.com/louisvilles-kelsi-worrell-compete-french-olympic-trials/

Not that it belittles or undermines the value of the experience for Kelsi, but her boyfriend Thomas Dahlia is French and is competing at the meet as well. Since the women’s swimmers didn’t have to miss any school for NCAAs (it was over Louisville’s spring break), academically it was probably doable to carry on with her course load despite the travel.

Reply to  Braden Keith
8 years ago

thx for the link!

ole 99
8 years ago

Is there a stated reason why French standards are higher then the FINA standards? Is it a money issue? If its a competitive issues, doesn’t that ignore the Olympic Creed.

8 years ago

Bobo, how will they deal with Dortogna case? Based on recents events he will probably not reach French QT, but even him being the weakest leg of French Medley relay he is needed

ato hitotsu
Reply to  Rafael
8 years ago

Medley relay qualifying is done by adding the winning times of each individual 100m event. To qualify, the total time added together must meet 3:32.10 and each individual winner must meet the FINA “A” standard (not the French standard). S

Adding up the French standards for the individual events = 3:32.87
Adding up the FINA “A” standards for the individual events = 3:36.28

So d’Ortona has to win below 1:00.57, and between Manaudou, Agnel, Lacourt, Metella and Stravius they’ll have to make up the seconds. Even if he doesn’t make it I’m sure the directors will “save” the medley team though, unthinkable to have the world champions not go to Rio.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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