2016 French Elite Nationals in Montpellier: Day 5 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
  • List of French qualifiers for Rio
  • Championship Central


Women’s 800 Meter Freestyle – Fastest Heat

  • French record: 8:18.80 3/31/2007 Melbourne (AUS), Laure Manaudou (21), Canet 66 Natation
  • French standard for Rio: 8:24.47 (FINA A: 8:33.97)
  • French standard for Europe: 8:32.58

Top-seeded Coralie Balmy swam an even 4:13/4:15 to win the opening event of Day 5 in 8:28.63, taking a little bite out of her seed time. Balmy’s coach in Antibes, French 200 fly record-holder Franck Esposito, had announced she would just be swimming to win, not to pick up a second Rio qualification cut. He wanted her to go 4:13/4:16, which she beat by a second. Balmy finished nearly a full pool length ahead of the field. Had she been going for the 8:24 she would have had no one but the clock to pace her.

Belgium’s Eva Bonnet beat her seed time by 6.2 seconds and finished second in 8:40.93. Ophélie-Cyrielle Etienne, of Lille Métropole/Marseille, was third in 8:43.67.

Nice’s Alizée Morel dropped 2.4 seconds and finished fourth with 8:46.84, ahead of Mulhouse’s Julie Berthier (8:48.12). Léa Marchal of Besançon was sixth in 8:48.99, a personal best by 3.1 seconds. Marion Abert of Dauphins Toulouse, who dropped 4.1 seconds in the afternoon heats, slipped into the top eight with 8:50.57 for seventh. Oceane Cassignol of Montpellier Métropole took eighth with a personal-best 8:53.07.

Men’s 400 Meter Freestyle – Final

  • French record: 3:43.85 3/23/2011 Strasbourg (FRA), Yannick Agnel (19), Olympic Nice Natation
  • French standard for Rio: 3:46.66 (FINA A: 3:50.40)
  • French standard for Europe: 3:50.35

Top-seeded Jordan Pothain of Nautic Club Alp’38, swimming in Lane 3, led wire-to-wire in an attempt to earn a ticket to Rio. While he went a lifetime best and won by 3 seconds, Pothain came 1.1 seconds short of the standard. Out in 1:51 at the 200, he came home in 1:56 for 3:47.77. Pothain has had an excellent week, now culminating in a national title. While he didn’t make the Rio cut, Pothain is now closer to the French standard in the 400 than his controversial second-place finish in the 200. This performance could actually make things easier to pick up both Pothain in the 400 and Yannick Agnel in the 200 free when he analyzes the post-meet data. As we have mentioned before, the National Technical Director, Jacques Favre, may select up to 6 women and 6 men to add to the roster, based on the percentage of how close they swam to the Rio cuts. You can see our ongoing list of performances by percentage here. (The closest swims so far are, in order: Stravius 200 free, Joly 1500 free, Coelho 200 fly, Pothain 400 free, Pothain 200 free, Agnel 200 free, and D’Oriano 1500 free.)

Damien Joly of Antibes was second to the wall in 3:50.84, 2 seconds over his seed time. Joris Bouchaut of Dauphins Toulouse was also just off his best, coming in third at 3:51.69.

After the top three there was a pause, then came two waves of finishers. Benoît Debast of Sarcelles edged Jonathan Atsu of Dauphins Toulouse, 3:55.21 to 3:55.97 for fourth. Atsu had dropped 3 seconds in prelims to make the A final, and took another second off his 3:59 seed time in finals to finish with a new personal best.

Anthony Pannier of Sarcelles went 3:57.29 to head off Romain Mrowinski of CN Cévennes Alès (3:57.82 and Paul Barascud of Marseille (3:58.06) to round out the final.

Women’s 200 Meter Individual Medley – Final

  • French record: 2:09.37 4/26/2009 Montpellier (FRA), Camille Muffat (20), Olympic Nice Natation
  • French standard for Rio: 2:10.60 (FINA A: 2:14.26)
  • French standard for Europe: 2:14.32

Lara Grangeon of Calédoniens/Font-Romeu has had an outstanding meet. No question. Three national titles. Three personal bests. One national record. The only thing missing is an automatic qualification for Rio. Amid all the pressure, Grangeon has remained cheerful and optimistic all week and has continued to perform at peak form. Châpeau, as they say.

Grangeon’s third title and third PB came with a 2:12.68 victory over Mulhouse’s Fantine Lesaffre, who also notched a best time with 2:13.98. It’s worth pointing out that both women met the FINA A standard with their swims, but what is difficult about the French standards for Rio is that they are still miles away in terms of percentage calculation, which is what the DTN will be using when choosing who will be added to the list. Nonetheless both women had excellent races and come away with new times. A bittersweet reward.

Cyrielle Duhamel of Stade Béthune Pélican Club, who broke the national age group record for 16-year-olds in the 400 IM, improved her personal best by a full second with her third-place finish of 2:16.06. Adeline Martin from CN Antibes was fourth in 2:18.42. Alice Aubry of SN Metz clocked a personal-best 2:18.47 for fifth. Coralie Codevelle of Sarcelles Natation went a best-by-1.1 2: 18.50 for sixth; 30-year-old Sophie De Ronchi Turban of CNS Vallauris also improved her seed time by 1.1 to finish seventh in 2:19.48. 14-year-old Romanian Claudia Gadea finished eighth with 2:20.44, a personal best by 3/10.

Men’s 100 Meter Backstroke – Final

  • French record: 52.11 8/10/2010 Budapest (HUN), Camille Lacourt (25), CN Marseille 10/08/2010
  • French standard for Rio: 53.29 (FINA A: 54.36)
  • French standard for Europe: 54.73

Double OUF!

After a very difficult week, Camille Lacourt of Marseille showed why he is a World Champion by coming through with two clutch swims in the 100 back on the day that mattered. Lacourt had struggled all week, trying to prepare himself for this race. He had admitted to the press that he wasn’t in top form; he had lost 5 kilos inexplicably in March and was trying to gain it back. Although he won the 50 back on Wednesday, he was very unhappy with the time. So he swam a practice 100 in the 200 back (after advising everyone else in the heat of his intentions), going full-out but only managing a 55. Then came prelims this morning and Lacourt clocked a 53.93 that elicited a collective sigh of relief from all corners of the Antigone pool.

Knowing it was just himself and the clock, Lacourt went out in 25.61, a good 4/10 ahead of his morning pace, and came home in 27.36 to clench the victory and punch his ticket to Rio. Lacourt’s Marseille teammate Benjamin Stasiulis was just off his seed time but nonetheless finished second in 54.44, ahead of Amiens’ Eddie Moueddene, runner-up to Lacourt in the 50 back on Wednesday, who went 54.89.

Thomas Avetand of Beauvaisis/Amiens improved another 3/10 to finish fourth in 55.13, making for a personal best by .60 between prelims and finals. After just sneaking into the A final with the eighth time of the morning, Avignon’s Oleg Garasymovytch placed fifth in finals with 56.39.

Stanislas Huille of SN Versailles/Paris INSEP continued to impress with another national age group record for 17-year-old boys. After dropping 1.2 seconds in prelims and setting the NAG with 56.45, Huille tied his morning swim with another 56.45 in finals for sixth place. Paul-Gabriel Bedel of Marseille went 56.71 for seventh, just ahead of Thibault Delecluse of Gravelines Natation (56.79).



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5 years ago

Is Balmy swimming the 800?

bobo gigi
5 years ago

Day 5

Women’s 800 free final coming up

Time to do 8.24.47
National record 8.18.80 Laure Manaudou vs Kate Ziegler in 2007
Only Coralie Balmy can do the qualifying time. Her PB is 8.25.32.

bobo gigi
5 years ago

Women’s 800 free final

Her coach Franck Esposito has just said on TV that Balmy swims the race only to win and not for the time.

1. Balmy in 8.28.63
2. Bonnet (Belgium) in 8.40.93
3. OCE in 8.43.67

5 years ago

Yes, the time does not matter for Balmy – she is already on the team.

bobo gigi
5 years ago

Men’s 400 free final coming up

Time to do 3.46.66
Joly vs Pothain
Both have a 3.48 PB

bobo gigi
5 years ago

Iain, time does not matter. Yes if she has no ambition in that event. And that was the case.
But if she wanted to swim the 800 free in Rio, she had to swim 8.24.
I find that weird she did not even try. With her current shape she could do it.

Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

No, that is what I have been saying this whole time. It does not say that in the selection document. Once an athlete has been selected there is nothing in the document to stop them swimming additional events.

Reply to  Iain
5 years ago

That moment when you realize Bobo doesn’t actually always know *everything*

5 years ago

Go Pothian!

bobo gigi
5 years ago

Pothain is on fire right now.
He’s the big French hopeful in the 200 free/400 free for the next 4 years.

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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