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.