2016 French Elite Nationals in Montpellier: Day 3 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


Men’s 200 Meter Butterfly – A Flight

  • French record: 1:54.62 4/18/2002 Chalon-Sur-Saône (FRA), Franck Esposito (31), CN Antibes 18/04/2002
  • French standard for Rio: 1:55.27 (FINA A 1:56.97)
  • French standard for Europe: 1:58.21

Defending champion Jordan Coehlo (Stade de Vanves/Antibes) posted the top qualifying time so far with 1:58.48. Coehlo won this event with 1:57.99 last year and has already been 1.5 seconds faster than that this season. Matthias Marsau of Dauphins Toulouse went 2:01.76 for the second-fastest time. Nans Roch (St-Germain-en-Laye/Paris INSEP) put up a 2:02.20, just ahead of 2015 runner-up Paul Lemaire of Dauphins Toulouse (2:02.51).

Martin Maisonneuve of Montauban (2:02.62), Romain Mrowinski of Cévennes Alès (2:03.35), Thomas Vilaceca of Montauban (2:04.37), and Julien Pinon of Canet 66 (2:04.54) are also provisionally part of tonight’s A final, depending on the outcome of the B-flighted heats later this morning. Pinon dropped a full second off his seed time to join this group.

Women’s 200 Meter Butterfly – A Flight

  • French record: 2:05.09 7/29/2009 Rome (ITA), Aurore Mongel (27), Mulhouse ON
  • French standard for Rio: 2:06.62 (FINA A 2:09.33)
  • French standard for Europe: 2:10.29

Seven of the eight early leaders in the women’s 200 fly are exactly as predicted by the psych sheet. They all finished in the same order with the exception of number seven: Charlyne Secrestat of SCM Clamart/Paris INSEP dropped 1.6 seconds to land among the top eight with 2:17.78. Otherwise, the usual suspects included: Lara Grangeon of Calédoniens/Font-Romeu (2:09.01), USA’s Kelsi Worrell (2:10.55), Marie Wattel of Nice (2:15.66), Camille Wishaupt of Mulhouse (2:15.84), Dijon’s Morgane Rothon (2:16.95), Gwladys Larzul of Dauphins Toulouse (2:17.13), and Morgane Filippi of ASPTT Montpellier (2:19.76).

Having just missed the qualifying mark for Rio despite breaking the French national record in the 400 IM on Tuesday, Grangeon is likely to have the crowd behind her in tonight’s final. She will also have Worrell in the lane next door to spur her on. This will be one of the more exciting finals in the women’s meet because, while the Rio standard of 2:06.62 is 1.3 seconds faster than Grangeon’s seed time, the only competitor in the field who could push her to get there is Worrell.

Men’s 200 Meter Backstroke – A Flight

  • French record: 1:56.39 3/23/2012 Dunkerque (FRA), Benjamin Stasiulis (26), Amiens Métropole Natation 23/03/2012
  • French standard for Rio: 1:56.13 (FINA A 1:58.22)
  • French standard for Europe: 1:59.08

The 200 back is one of the handful of events in which the standard for Rio is faster than the current French record. Defending champion Benjamin Stasiulis of Marseille, far and away the favorite to repeat his national title, will need to chop 2 full seconds off his personal best to make the cut. He was the fastest out of the A flight with 1:59.90.

Geoffroy Mathieu of Stade Clermont Natation dropped .77 to put up the second-fastest time of the morning, 2:01.00. Maxence Orange of Nantes Natation improved his seed time by 2.1 seconds and was third with 2:01.22. Christophe Brun from Dauphins Toulouse also improved his seed time, dropping 6/10 to go 2:02.59 for fourth. Oleg Garasymovytch of CN Avignon went 2:02.69 for fifth, while Simon Lesaffre of Roubaix Natation dropped 2/10 to qualify sixth in 2:05.14. Simon Brefuel of Canet 66/Font-Romeu went 2:05.43 for seventh.

Souhaiel Chatti of Stade Français O Courbevoie, who is only 15, dropped 2.1 seconds to post the eighth-fastest time of 2:05.52. Third-seeded Paul-Gabriel Bedel from Marseille, who had been expected to battle his teammate Stasiulis for the title, had a disappointing morning swim and wound up 14th.

The B flight produced a big surprise when 16-year-old Baptiste Leger, of ES Massy, dropped 4 seconds to edge Chatti out of the A final with 2:05.46.

Women’s 50 Meter Freestyle – A Flight

  • French record: 24.58 8/1/2009 Rome (ITA), Malia Metella (27), Dauphins Toulouse OEC
  • French standard for Rio: 24.57 (FINA A 25.28)
  • French standard for Europe: 25.24

Worrell, fresh off her 200 fly, clocked a 24.98 personal best to lead the field in the women’s 50 free ahead of defending champion Anna Santamans of Olympic Nice, who went 25.10. Marseille’s Béryl Gastaldello, who seems to show up in all the same races as Worrell, was the third qualifier in 25.26. Mélanie Henique, representing Amiens but part of the training group in Marseille, took .04 off her seed time and qualified fourth in 25.35.

Bordeaux Bastide’s Lena Bousquin came in fifth with 25.41. 2015 runner-up Lauriane Haag of Toulouse was sixth in 25.58. Marseille’s Anouchka Martin went 25.73 to qualify seventh, while Mathilde Cini of Valence Triathlon hit the wall in 25.93 for potentially the final spot in tonight’s A final.

Men’s 400 Meter Individual Medley – A Flight

  • French record: 4:16.97 4/23/2009 Montpellier (FRA), Anthony Pannier (21), CN Braud St-Louis 23/04/2009
  • French standard for Rio: 4:13.29 (FINA A 4:16.71)
  • French standard for Europe: 4:19.27

Several big names scratched the men’s 400 free: Ganesh Pedurand of Toulouse who won the 200 IM, number one seed Jeremy Desplanches of Switzerland and Ambroise Petit, both of Olympic Nice, and a handful of others.

The top swim of the morning came from Dauphins Toulouse’s Geoffrey Renard with 4:26.74. Renard finished sixth in the 200 IM on Tuesday. Anthony Pannier of Sarcelles Natation, fourth in the 1500 on Tuesday, qualified second with 4:27.58, improving his seed time by 1.2 seconds. Next was Mathis Castera of Dauphins Toulouse (4:28.19), followed by his teammate, defending champion Nicolas D’Oriano (4:28.33). D’Oriano had a spectacular 1500 on Tuesday and finished runner-up.

Samy Helmbacher of Dauphins Obernai went 4:28.79, a personal best by 2.3 seconds, to qualify fifth. Yannick Chatelain of Nautic Club Nîmes (4:28.82), Cyril Chatron of Bron/Font-Romeu (4:28.88), and Guillaume Laure of Antibes (4:29.31) will make up the rest of the A final if no one from the later flight is faster.

As the 2016 French Elite Championships serve as the selection meet for Rio, the A flight of 400s is reserved for French swimmers and only one athlete representing a foreign delegation is eligible to swim in A finals (with the exception of the 100 and 200 freestyles, which are strictly reserved for French athletes). In the 400 IM, two swimmers added their times into the mix of the top 8 listed above. Tunisia’s Ahmed Mathlouthi, who trains at Sarcelles Natation, clocked the fastest time of the morning overall, going 4:24.27, to move everyone down one slot. Another Tunisian, Taki M’rabet, who swims with Stade Français O Courbevoie, put up the fourth-fastest time of 4:28.09; he will lead the B final tonight.

Women’s 1500 Meter Freestyle – Timed Finals

  • French record: 16:03.01 5/14/2006 Tour (FRA), Laure Manaudou (20), CN Melun Val de Seine
  • French standard for Europe: 16:25.05

Sharon Van Rouwendaal of Netherlands, who trains with Philippe Lucas and represents Montpellier Métropole, won the non-Olympic distance event in 16:31.17, well off her seed time of 16:15.09. This is likely her warm-up swim for Eindhoven, so it’s worth remarking that from the 500 onward, Van Rouwendaal swam eleven straight 1:06s.

Eva Bonnet of Belgium, of Denain Natation Porte du Hainaut, dropped 13 seconds to finish second with 16:34.15. Mulhouse’s Julie Berthier, who was runner-up to Van Rouwendaal in 2015, clocked the third-fastset time with 16:36.94.

Coralie Codevelle of Sarcelles (16:38.09) dropped 5.8 seconds for fourth. Adeline Furst of Dauphins Obernai (16:52.02), Marion Brunel of Toulouse (16:54.70), Léa Marchal of Besançon (17:03.68), and Oceane Cassignol of Montpellier (17:06.40) rounded out the top eight.

Lou-Anne Berniet of Chamalières-Montferrand Natation broke the national age group record for 14-year-old girls with 17:28.00, a personal best by 11.5 seconds.


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bobo gigi

Hopefully day 3 is a normal day with no controversies and no dramas…. For Coehlo, Santamans, Grangeon and Stasiulis, standards are not out of reach. It will be tough but it doesn’t look impossible. Lara Grangeon is in great shape. I’m rooting for her. She has slowly but surely improved year after year. She’s a very hard worker swimmer and would deserve to go to Rio. Anyway I think she will be “saved” by the national team director next week. The presence of Kelsi Worrell should help her. For the American the 200 fly is very long in long course so Grangeon should use her as a luxury rabbit until the 100/150 and then finish very well thanks to her… Read more »

David Berkoff

I watched the finish of the 200. Not even close. Agnel was winning until 5 meters out. He was clearly second. The French federation needs to be investigated for corruption. So disgusting.


I’m going for an unpopular opinion here, concerning the 200m free from yesterday. I’m not disputing Agnel actually was faster to the wall than Pothain. However, I think his touch registered later than Pothain rightfully. I reviewed the underwater footage and Agnel’s finish was a disaster. He touches the pad extremely low with a lifted head, totally out of streamline. The direction of his hand movement at the point of touch is downwards instead of straight into the wall causing the delayed “touch”. This in contrast with the finish of Pothain. I think the touch panels actually registered Agnels touch 3rd, just because of how they work, not because of a fault. Agnel was first to the wall, but has… Read more »

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/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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