2016 French Elite Nationals in Montpellier: Day 2 Prelims 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

Women’s 400 Meter Freestyle – Fastest Heat

  • French record: 4:01.13 3/19/2012 Dunkerque (FRA), Camille Muffat (23), Olympic Nice Natation
  • French standard for Rio: 4:05.64
  • French standard for Europe: 4:09.84

Coralie Balmy (Montpellier Métropole/Antibes), the top seed in the 400 free, who has already dipped under the French standard for Rio this season, led the fastest heat in prelims with 4:09.47. Her next closest competitor was Femke Heemskerk (Netherlands) of Montpellier Métropole Natation in 4:14.38. Marion Abert of Toulouse, the distance powerhouse, went 4:15.89 for third.

After the disappointment of an expectant public on Day 1 when two “sure bets” missed their respective marks to make the French team for Rio, nothing is given. One thing we saw in common was that the lack competition for the top seed added to the difficulty in reaching that difficult time standard.

The rest of the heat consisted of Ophélie-Cyrielle Etienne of Lille/Marseille (4:16.04), Coralie Codevelle of Sarcelles (4:16.83), Fantine Lesaffre from Mulhouse (4:16.85), Alizée Morel of Nice (4:17.43), and Julie Berthier of Mulhouse (4:19.39).

Non-French swimmers in the 400s must swim their prelims with the “B” flights and are not eligible for the A finals. This is why Russia’s Anna Egorova, who trains with Montpellier Métropole, posted the third-fastest time of the morning sessions out of the B flight. Egorova dropped 2.2 seconds to go 4:14.69 and lead the qualifiers for the B final tonight. Otherwise, no other swimmers in the later heats surpassed Berthier’s 4:19.39 to ascend to the A final.

Men’s 200 Meter Breaststroke – A Flight

  • French record: 2:08.94 8/14/2008 Beijing (CHN), Hugues Duboscq (27), CN Le Havre 14/08/2008
  • French standard for Rio: 2:09.65
  • French standard for Europe: 2:12.08

With the four fastest heats in the bag, the leading time comes from top seed Thomas Dahlia of Antibes with 2:12.53. Thibaut Capitaine of Cergy Pontoise Natation had a monster swim this morning, dropping 2.8 seconds to qualify second with 2:13.37. William Debourges of Antibes put up the third-fastest time with 2:14.69, only a few tenths off his seed time.

Tunisian Talal M’rabet, who trains at Stade Français O Courbevoie, was fourth with 2:16.65. He was followed by Marseille’s Jean Dencausse (2:16.73), Yann Quiertant (2:16.97) of Courbevoie, Quentin Callais (2:16.99) of Canet 66 Natation/Font-Romeu, and Quentin Coton of Antibes (2:17.48).

Marseille’s Giacomo Perez Dortona scratched the event.

Women’s 100 Meter Breast – A Flight

  • French record: 1:07.97 3/23/2011 Strasbourg (FRA), Sophie De Ronchi Turban (26), ES Massy Natation
  • French standard for Rio: 1:06.93
  • French standard for Europe: 1:08.52

Nice’s Charlotte Bonnet, the top seed in this event, put up the fastest time of the morning so far with 1:09.57. Bonnet won this event in 1:08.34 last year, 1.4 seconds off the time the FFN has determined to be the qualifying standard for Rio. That 1:06.93, by the way, would be a new French record by more than a second. Camille Dauba of CN Sarreguemines was just .13 off her seed time with the second-fastest morning swim, 1:10.40. 2015 runner-up Fanny Deberghes of ASPTT Montpellier was only .01 behind Dauba.

Nolwenn Herve (Canet 66/Font-Romeu) went 1:10.53, followed by Antibes’ Adeline Martin with 1:10.64, Coralie Dobral (Montpellier Métropole), Sophie De Ronchi Turban (Vallauris) with 1:10.92, and Adeline Williams (Toulouse) with 1:11.03.

30-year-old De Ronchi Turban dropped .34 to land among the top 8 so far this morning. She still holds the record in this event from 2011.

Men’s 200 Meter Freestyle – A Flight

  • French record: 1:43.14 7/30/2012 London (GBR), Yannick Agnel (20), Olympic Nice Natation
  • French standard for Rio: 1:46.06
  • French standard for Europe: 1:48.70

The excitement is already building for tonight’s final. The men’s 100 and 200 freestyles are incredibly deep, which is excellent for French relays but adds to the competitive atmosphere in trying to earn a ticket to Rio. Jérémy Stravius of Amiens Métropole improved on his seed time of 1:47.10 to lead the field with 1:46.81 for the middle lane in tonight’s final. Jordan Pothain of Nautic Club Alp’38 was the second-fastest out of the morning’s A flight with a best-by-1.12 1:47.00. Marseille’s Clément Mignon came within .10 of his personal best with 1:48.39 for the third-fastest morning swim.

French record-holder and defending champion Yannick Agnel of Mulhouse qualified fourth with 1:48.60; he won in 1:45.97 in 2015 over Grégory Mallet of Marseille, who was fifth this morning in 1:48.78, less than a second off his seed time.

Dauphins Toulouse OEC teammates Lorys Bourelly (1:49.06) and Jonathan Atsu (1:49.34) were sixth and seventh; Simon Guerin of Amiens (1:50.17) was the eighth time of the morning, after Tunisia’s Mehdi Agili (1:50.02), not eligible to final in the 200 free.

In any case, this is THE event to watch tonight.

Women’s 100 Meter Backstroke – A Flight

  • 100 back – French record: 59.50 3/20/2008 Eindhoven (NED), Laure Manaudou (22), Canet 66 Natation
  • French standard for Rio: 59.48
  • French standard for Europe: 1:01.40

The Béryl-Kelsi show will continue tonight, which is a great thing for the crowd in Montpellier. Béryl Gastaldello of Marseille posted the morning’s fastest time of 1:01.40, 9/10 off her seed time. Camille Gheorghiu (Montpellier Métropole/Antibes) had a stunning morning swim, dropping 7/10 and coming in second with 1:01.47. Mathilde Cini (Valence Triathlon/Marseille) went 1:01.70 for third. USA’s Kelsi Worrell was right behind with 1:01.72.

Pauline Mahieu (St-André/Font-Romeu) was fifth in 1:02.23; she was followed by Emma Terebo of Calédoniens (1:03.20), Laura Savariau of SPN Poitiers (1:03.64), and Fanny Danet of Paul-Bert Rennes (1:03.93). Savariau dropped 7/10 to land among the top eight.

Men’s 50 Meter Backstroke – Timed Finals

  • 50 back – French record: 24.07 8/12/2010 Budapest (HUN), Camille Lacourt (25), CN Marseille 12/08/2010
  • French standard for Europe: 25.32

Camille Lacourt of Marseille led the morning with a solid 24.96. As there are no finals for non-Olympic events, the 50 back serves as a nice warm-up race for his 100 back on Saturday. Placing second was Eddie Moueddene of Amiens with 25.44, just .04 off his seed time. Thibault Delecluse of Gravelines Natation went 25.89 for third, blowing away his personal best with a 1.35-second improvement.

Paul Pijulet of Dauphins Toulouse (25.93), Thomas Avetand of Beauvaisis/Amiens (26.14), Pierre-Yves Desprez of Dijon (26.22), Stanislas Huille of Versailles/Paris INSEP (26.25), and Paul-Gabriel Bedel of Marseille (26.35) rounded out the top eight.


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6 years ago

I have read Manaudou’s interview and I can’t make head or tail of it. I don’t understand if he is confident, if he is just hiding his cards or what.

Agnel is the biggest mystery to me. In 2013 I thought he would be the first man to win back-to-back olympic gold in the 200 free. Now we don’t even know if he is no.1 in France. Maybe he lost the fire. Hopefully for the sport he can go back to what he was. The 200 free looked stagnant in the last 2 years.

Joel Lin
6 years ago

I hope Agnel puts in a good one tonite. I’ve always been a huge fan and as a fan of the sport would love to see his best again.

bobo gigi
6 years ago

Women’s 400 free
It will be Balmy vs the clock.
She’s the only elite French girl in that event.
She swam a huge 4.04 early March so the standard of 4.05.64 shouldn’t fear her. At least on paper. Hopefully she didn’t peak too early and the pressure of the standard will not weigh too heavily as it was the case on a lot of swimmers on day 1.

Men’s 200 breast
Good prelims by Thomas Dahlia. But the required time of 2.09.65 looks out of reach. His PB is 2.11.43 in 2014. Maybe the presence of her girlfriend Kelsi Worrell can help him to surpass himself. He needs a big help.

Women’s 100 breast
Women’s… Read more »

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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