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 – A Flight
- 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
100 free champion Fanny Deberghes of ASPTT Montpellier continued to shine with a field-topping 2:30.35 in the first event of Day 4 in Montpellier. She comes in with a seed time of 2:28.08, so even a European Championships qualification will take a personal-best, but with Lara Grangeon having scratched the event, Deberghes is the clear favorite to defend her 2015 title and sweep the breaststroke events. Camille Dauba of CN Sarreguemines went 2:31.24 for the morning’s second-fastest time of the three A-flighted heats. Laura Paquit of ASPTT Limoges came in third in 2:31.47.
Fantine Lesaffre of Mulhouse was just off her seed time with a 2:31.53 morning swim for fourth. Teammates Coralie Dobral and Géraldine Huffner of Montpellier Métropole qualified fifth and sixth with 2:32.63 and 2:33.59, respectively. Huffner dropped 2/10 to make the top eight.
If no one is faster in the B flights later this morning, the last two slots of the A final will belong to Nolwenn Herve of Canet 66/Font-Romeu (2:33.86) and Adeline Martin of Antibes (2:34.35).
French record-holder Sophie De Ronchi Turban went right at her seed time to qualify for the B final in 2:36.85
Men’s 100 Meter Breaststroke – A Flight
- 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
Top-seeded Giacomo Perez Dortona of Marseille put up a solid 1:01.34, only 1 second off his seed time, to lead the morning qualifiers through the first heats of men’s 100 breast. Perez Dortona is the defending champion and strongest candidate to make the Rio team, but he has yet to dip below the 1:00 mark. Thibaut Capitaine, runner-up in the 100 breast on Day 2, qualified second with a personal-best 1:01.66; Capitaine dropped .80 to jump from seventh seed to second qualifier. Thomas Dahlia of Antibes, runner-up in this event last year and bronze medalist in Wednesday’s 200 breast final, went 1:01.85 for third.
Theo Bussière of Marseille qualified fourth in 1:02.24, within 1/10 of his seed time. Teammate Jean Dencausse was fifth in 1:02.47. Basten Caerts of Belgium went 1:02.55 to qualify for the one spot available to an athlete from a foreign delegation. The seventh-fastest time belonged to Vincent Clement of CN Avignon in 1:02.60, while William Debourges, who won the 200 breast on Wednesday, earned the last entry into tonight’s A final with 1:02.62.
Quentin Coton of Antibes, who placed third in this event last year, had a tough morning race, finishing ninth with 1:03.10, 1.5 seconds off his seed time.
Women’s 200 Meter Freestyle – A Flight
- 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
Coralie Balmy of Montpellier Métropole/Antibes, France’s lone qualifier for Rio for the moment, led the field through the A flight with 1:58.65. This is a nice morning swim from Balmy, who was seeded second with 1:57.49. Moreover, her splits of 28.0/30.0/30.3/30.2 seemed effortless. The women’s 200 may rival the men’s 100 free as the final to watch tonight, as it could be one of the few events in which the French women have a strong chance of qualifying two individual contenders for Rio. Nice’s Charlotte Bonnet, who won this event over Balmy last year, qualified second in 1:59.67. This is Bonnet’s main event, and she was one of the sure favorites to make the Rio squad coming into the meet. Bonnet took it out much faster and eased up on her finish, presumably saving energy for tonight. Her splits were 27.3/30.3/30.8/31.0. Bonnet has a nice ability to accelerate from the middle of the pool to the wall on the final 50.
The third qualifier this morning was Aqualove Sauvetage Montpellier’s Margaux Fabre, who went within .25 of her seed time to post a 1:59.67. Camille Gheorghiu of Montpellier Métropole/Antibes clocked a 2:00.50 for fourth. 2015 bronze medalist Cloé Hache of Nice was the fifth through to finals in 2:00.52.
Marion Abert of Dauphins Toulouse dropped .80 in prelims to land in the sixth spot with 2:01.16. Lara Grangeon of Calédoniens/Font-Romeu, who scratched the 200 breast to focus on the 200 free and a possible relay spot in Rio, went 2:01.25 to qualify seventh. The last lane in tonight’s A final, barring faster swims out of the B flights, will belong to Assia Touati of Dauphins Toulouse, who went 2:01.42.
Ophélie-Cyrielle Etienne of Lille Métropole/Marseille was 2.5 seconds off her seed time and led the B final qualifiers with 2:01.56. She will be joined by Nice’s Alizée Morel (2:02.27) and Coralie Codevelle of Sarcelles (2:02.97).
Béryl Gastaldello of Marseille scratched the event; she had been seeded 15th.
The add-up time for a French 4×200 freestyle relay qualification for Rio is 7:51.80, which means an average time of 1:57.95 per swimmer. Given that both Balmy and Bonnet are expected to be 1:56-mid to –high, the next two can be 1:58-highs. There are at least four women capable of hitting that mark. Optimism is high for tonight’s final.
Men’s 100 Meter Freestyle – A Flight
- 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
The men’s 100 free is turning out to be every bit as much of a nail-biter as anticipated. France has an exceptionally deep pool in this event, and the athletes lived up to their billing in prelims. For the most part everyone swam within a second of their seed times, and the field will be tight in tonight’s final: only 1.15 separate the first qualifier from the eighth. Similarly, the eight B final qualifiers are all within a second of each other. Number 16 trails number 1 by 1.7 seconds.
That number one is Marseille’s Clément Mignon who posted a 48.49, just .11 off his seed time. Mignon finished third in this event last year. His teammate Florent Manaudou clocked a solid 48.95 to win his heat this morning. His stated ambition is a 47.4 in finals tonight, and he knew his morning swim would be key to his evening success. So far Manaudou has achieved what he set out to do and is nicely set up in the middle of pool for tonight’s big race. The third of the five Marseille teammates to make the A final was Mehdy Metella; his 48.96 was within 6/10 of his seed time.
Jérémy Stravius of Amiens Métropole came in frouth with 49.12. He won this event in 48.50 over Mignon and Marseille’s Fabien Gilot last year and is very focused on the 100 and 200 freestyles this year. Gilot, meanwhile, qualified fifth with 49.30. Lorys Bourelly of Dauphins Toulouse had a strong morning showing with 49.32 for sixth.
Marseille’s William Meynard was just off his seed time with a 49.42 for seventh, and Mulhouse’s Yannick Agnel took the last spot with 49.64.
The B final tonight will be just as exciting. Grégory Mallet of Marseille, who lacked .09 to make the A final, will be in lane 4 with a qualifying time of 49.73. His teammate Frédérick Bousquet dropped a half-second to qualify tenth overall with 49.75. Eddie Moueddene of Amiens Métropole also dropped time and qualified 11th in 49.96. Tom Paco Pedroni of AS Monaco went 50.19 for 12th. Other B final qualifers were Stephane Debaere of CN Polynésie (50.42), Nosy Pelagie of EMS Bron (50.53), Jonathan Atsu of Dauphins Toulouse (50.62, best by .5), and Théo Fuchs of Amiens (50.74, best by .26).
Jordan Pothain of Nautic Club Alp’38 scratched the event.
Women’s 50 Meter Backstroke – Timed Finals
- French record: 28.01 8/15/2015 Chartres (FRA), Béryl Gastaldello (20), CN Marseille
- French standard for Europe: 28.74
Defending champion and French record-holder Béryl Gastaldello of Marseille scratched the 50 back (she also scratched the 100 free), so 2015 runner-up Mathilde Cini had a clear path to victory in this non-Olympic event. Cini, who swims for Valence Triathlon, clocked a 28.58 to win by half a body length. Laurine Del’homme of CN Paris/INSEP and Auriane de Premilhat of Marseille tied for second place with 29.18. Emma Terebo of CN Calédoniens was fourth in 29.26. Fanny Danet of Paul-Bert Rennes went 29.61, edging the rest of the top eight by just a tick: Maëlle Lecanu of Stade Français O Courbevoie (29.66), Lila Touili of Canet 66/Font-Romeu (29.70), and Pauline Mahieu of St-André/Font-Romeu (29.74).