2016 French Elite Nationals in Montpellier: Day 4 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


Women’s 200 Meter Breaststroke – Final

  • French record: 2:25.19 4/24/2009 Montpellier (FRA), Sophie De Ronchi Turban (24), ES Massy Natation
  • French standard for Rio: 2:23.78 (FINA A 2:26.94)
  • French standard for Europe: 2:27.87

Laura Paquit of ASPTT Limoges was the surprise winner of the women’s 200 breast with a personal best of 2:28.65. It’s a nice comeback for Paquit, who had a cyst removed from her knee in December, and had never broken 2:30 before. 100 free champion Fanny Deberghes of ASPTT Montpellier finished second in 2:28.67, off her seed time by 6/10. Camille Dauba of CN Sarreguemines was third in 2:29.11, notching a personal best by 3/10.

Fantine Lesaffre of Mulhouse had a huge swim, improving on her seed time by 2.2 seconds; she missed the podium by a mere .10 and finished fourth in 2:29.21. Coralie Dobral of Montpellier Métropole was fifth in 2:31.51, ahead of her teammate Géraldine Huffner (2:32.13), who chopped 1.6 seconds off her previous best time. Adeline Martin of Antibes (2:32.15) and Nolwenn Herve of Canet 66/Font-Romeu (2:33.11) rounded out the final.

Men’s 100 Meter Breaststroke – Final

  • French record: 58.64 7/27/2009 Rome (ITA), Hugues Duboscq (28), CN Le Havre 27/07/2009
  • French standard for Rio: 59.84 (FINA A 1:00.57)
  • French standard for Europe: 1:01.17

The men’s 100 breast gave the packed house its second upset in a row, when up-and-comer Théo Bussière of CN Marseille slipped by the presumptive favorite, his teammate Giacomo Perez Dortona, to win in 1:01.35, his best time by nearly 9/10. Thomas Dahlia of Antibes, runner-up in this event last year, also made it to the wall before Perez Dortona, touching second in 1:01.46 to the Marseillais’ 1:01.50. It was a tough final for Perez Dortona who has had a pretty good year and was very much focused on this event. It also will provide a challenge for the French medley relay, which needs a combined add-up time of 3:32.10 to qualify.

Thibaut Capitaine, runner-up in the 100 breast on Day 2, finished fourth in 1:01.70, missing the personal-best 1:01.66 he went in prelims by .04. Fifth was Marseille’s Jean Dencausse, whose 1:01.94 matched his previous personal best to the millisecond.

Basten Caerts of Belgium went 1:02.19 to place sixth, ahead of William Debourges of Antibes (1:02.41), the French national champion the 200 breast. Vincent Clement of CN Avignon placed eighth in 1:03.03.

Women’s 200 Meter Freestyle – Final

  • French record: 1:54.66 6/6/2012 Canet-en-Roussillon (FRA), Camille Muffat (23), Olympic Nice Natation
  • French standard for Rio: 1:56.78 (FINA A 1:58.96)
  • French standard for Europe: 1:59.26

Expectations were high in the women’s 200 free, as top-seeded Charlotte Bonnet of Olympic Nice had already been under the French standard for Rio this season, and her lifetime best of 1:56.16 would have cleared the bar by a large margin. The Antigone pool, filled to capacity, was unified behind Bonnet, hoping for another automatic qualification for Rio. Coralie Balmy of Montpellier Métropole/Antibes, the lone name on the Rio roster thus far, had put up the morning’s fastest time and was in lane 5. But with her ticket already punched, Balmy was quite vocal about her intention to do all she could to help Bonnet earn her spot for Rio in this event. Bonnet went out quickly, already a body length ahead at the halfway point. As was expected, Balmy outsplit her over the final 100 but Bonnet had the lead she needed to win the event. At the touch it was Bonnet in 1:56.32, her second-fastest time ever and an automatic cut for Rio. Balmy was second in 1:57.11, .38 better than her seed time. She said in the post-race interview (paraphrasing), “when I touched the wall I looked for Charlotte’s time before mine.”

Both Bonnet and Balmy moved up one spot in the world rankings for the season, to 9th and 13th, respectively.

Beyond the top two finishers was a rather large gulf, and it may have implications for France’s 800 free relay. The add-up time published in the FFN’s selection criteria is 7:51.80; the top four finishers tonight went 7:52.56 as Margaux Fabre (Aqualove Sauvetage Montpellier) and Cloé Hache (Nice) went 1:59.36 and 1:59.70, respectively.

Camille Gheorghiu of Montpellier Métropole/Antibes was 1:59.96 for fifth, ahead of Marion Abert of Dauphins Toulouse (2:00.54, her best by 1.4), Lara Grangeon of Calédoniens/Font-Romeu (2:01.11), and Assia Touati of Dauphins Toulouse (2:01.43).

Men’s 100 Meter Freestyle – Final

  • French record: 46.94 4/23/2009 Montpellier (FRA), Alain Bernard (26), CN Antibes
  • French standard for Rio: 48.13 (FINA A 48.99)
  • French standard for Europe: 49.18

All the excitement in the air after the successful women’s 200 free made the men’s 100 free just that much more electric. This is the dominant event in French swimming, as evidenced by the continued success of their 4×100 free relay on the international stage. Any one of the top 5 or 6 qualifiers in the A final could have taken the title, but all eyes were on Florent Manaudou in lane 5. He and four of his Marseille teammates and training partners, including Clément Mignon who had swum the morning’s fastest time and Mehdy Metella in lane 3, took up five of the eight lanes. Jérémy Stravius of Amiens was in lane six, hoping to make the top two and earn his spot on the roster for Rio.

The start was fast, and sprinter Manaudou was out like a rocket. His goal was 22.4/25 for a 47.4; otherwise, he had stated in interviews, there wouldn’t be much chance in medaling in Rio. Manaudou was out even faster, in 22.26, and the excitement mounted. Second to the 50 wall was Stravius; Mignon, just behind. Manaudou led for most of the second half but ended up coming home in 25-high. Not only Stravius, but also Mignon got him at the end, and suddenly Manaudou was out of Rio contention. All three of the top finishers made the French cut but only the top two made the roster. Stravius won the race in a personal-best 47.97, his first time under 48 and the #2 time in the world so far this season.

2015-2016 LCM Men 100 Free

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Mignon touched second in 48.01, just ahead of Manaudou’s 48.10. Metella was fourth in 48.43, giving the French a qualified 400 free relay by a margin of 2.81 seconds. The add-up time for qualifying was 3:15.32; tonight’s top four went 3:12.51.

Marseille teammates Fabien Gilot, minus the grizzly beard, and William Meynard, tied for fith in 49.01. That’s a .19 improvement for the latter. Mulhouse’s Yannick Agnel went 49.14 for seventh, and Lorys Bourelly of Dauphins Toulouse was 49.56 for eighth.




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Jay ryan
7 years ago

I love the Amaury Leveaux quote posted by Crawler (above) about the French federation. The last great quote from Leveaux came in 2008 right after the Lezak’s come-from-behind victory in the 4 x 100 free relay, “It is just a fingernail. It is nothing!”—to which the greatest swimmer of all time “incognito” responded, “Wrong—that fingernail is everything!”. Awesome posts by Bobo, by the way.

7 years ago

USA has to be the favorite in the 4×100 free relay. Adrian’s got a nice 46 high anchor always ready and phelps will split 47 regardless of position. I would like to see Murphy and dressell as the other two personally but we have options like Conger or Haas or Grevers or even Lochte. Lead off 47 high 47 mids in the middle and anchor 46 high should get the job done which as long as the coaching staff doesn’t put Feigen. I know France has big options too I’m sure Manaudou has a 46 split in him and Gilots done it before and Stravius is a 47 low as well but I really think as long as USA picks… Read more »

bobo gigi
7 years ago

This time I’m very serious. It’s not an April Fool!

Agnel has announced today that Rio would be probably the last meet of his career.
Not a shocking news. I talked about that this week.
He feels tired.


Reply to  bobo gigi
7 years ago

Disappointing but not surprising. After watching him win the 200 in 2012 I thought he was going to be the best in 2016 and 2020. It really shows how impressive guys like Phelps and Lochte are for being at the top for 10-15 years.

7 years ago

Something seems to be wrong with the downvotes/upvotes, apart from Bobo (and everyone who supports him) everyone gets tons of upvotes. I actually think that one person is downvoting Bobo all the time, otherwise not all other users would get so many upvotes. Basically the system has become useless, because you will get tons of upvotes no matter what you write, unless you are Bobo or support him …

7 years ago

I don’t understand why people are sleeping on the US in the 4×100 free relay. Adrian will be solid. He always puts in great splits in relays. Phelps was a 47.1 in London at not 100%. Has Phelps ever put in a bad really split? I can’t remember any but he will be at least a 47.5. Dressel went 48 high in 2013 and hasn’t had a summer in full shape since then. He is so much better now and I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t be at least equal to Condorelli right now, 47 high flat start. Someone else out of the young guns will step up and pop off a great time. Eddie Resse said something… Read more »

Reply to  xenon
7 years ago

They will be there fighting for the gold , i am sure of that . They can’t afford to repeat the fiasco of last year . They will do anything to have a great relay .

7 years ago

Bobo, just wanted to say thank you for all of the insight and passion you bring to this website. I think one/a few jerks have created a bot to downvote you. Makes me question whether or not upvotes/downvotes are worth it on SwimSwam, if they can be used maliciously against one of its most dedicated commenters. And whoever created the bot–that’s really mean.

7 years ago

I dont think its looking too bad at the moment. Apart from mens breast, mens IM, mens 200 fly, mens 200 back, womens fly, womens back, womens breast and womens 200 IM France is doing pretty fine! French fans shouldnt be too hard on their swimmers!

7 years ago

French medal contenders are doing pretty bad here. No Agnel in mens 200 free and no Manaudou in mens 100 free. I still think that they will win gold in mens 50 free and mens 4 x 100 free + some medals in mens 100 free and mens 100 back. My bet would be 2 golds, 1 silver and 1 bronze. I think mens 4 x 100 free will be between France (favorite) and Australia.

Reply to  thomaslurzfan
7 years ago

France is a bit in the same situation as the US with most of its stars getting older and close to retirement. Except that it doesn’t have the college system to build up a new generation while the US is already seeing the Murphys, Dressels, Haases, Licons and Prints ready for prime time.

The US college system is a tremendous bonus: it brings money, organization, rigor and depth. It is interesting to note that the countries which have sent their top swimmers and future coaches here have not been able to replicate or build a comparable system.

The Soviets had their Red Army, but that was when their western competitors were still amateurs. The East German had built an effective… Read more »

Reply to  Crawler
7 years ago

If the games are clean, then we none of the famous swimmers will even compete. In my opinion all medal winners in Rio in athletics/swimming will be doped. There is no reason to believe that american athletes are any cleaner than other athletes, otherwise the US wouldnt dominate swimming and athletics. Its always interesting to see which nations improve most in an olympic year and those nations are always the most suspicious for me.

I know thats not what you wanted to hear, but thats what i honestly believe. I wont run around accusing everyone of doping, but please dont act as if only the other nations are always doping and not the US. Its true that the US… Read more »

Reply to  thomaslurzfan
7 years ago

It was not my intent to put down anybody or to brag, apologies if it came across that way.

I just say that the US college system is a very efficient system to produce many high level athletes: it is easier and more effective to have the likes of U Texas, Cal Berkeley, U Florida, etc. recruit, train swimmers and make them compete than to have a central government system do it.

They also have a lot more money for facilities, coaches, drylands, etc. than almost any private club.

Because of the depth of their teams, competition among colleges, favoritism is more rare than in other systems where one or two clubs or a handful of top athletes… 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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