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.
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.