2016 French Elite Nationals Review: Selection Scenarii – Men

See our analysis of the French women’s selection for Rio here.

With the conclusion of the six-day French Elite Nationals and Olympic Selection meet in Montpellier, it is time for the French Federation (FFN)’s National Technical Director (DTN), Jacques Lefavre, to get to work putting together the team that will represent France at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The French minima for qualification to Rio have been discussed ad nauseam all week, both on SwimSwam and throughout France. As we have mentioned before, the FFN used a “build it and they will come” Field of Dreams philosophy when setting their standards for Rio, hoping to encourage their athletes to meet an elevated level that would allow them to medal at the Olympics. It galvanized Jérémy Stravius, the former World Champion 100 backstroker who stunned everyone by winning the 100 free, 200 free, and 100 fly with lifetime bests in each event. For most of the other swimmers it produced no small amount of anxiety, and there were some noticeable big misses during the championships.

As a reminder, the DTN has the discretion to add up to 6 men and 6 women to the Rio roster, based on how close the athletes’ swims were to the French standards, and as long as they achieved FINA A times.

Men

Automatic qualifiers:

Consideration list (FINA A swims, in order of nearness to French standard):

  • Jérémy Stravius, 100m fly, 99.90%
  • Jérémy Stravius, 200m free, 99.89%
  • Damien Joly, 1500m free, 99.75%
  • Jordan Coelho, 200m fly, 99.69%
  • Mehdy Metella, 100m fly, 99.56%
  • Jordan Pothain, 400m free, 99.51%
  • Jordan Pothain, 200m free, 99.30%
  • Yannick Agnel, 200m free, 99.13%
  • Nicolas D’Oriano, 1500m free, 98.99%
  • Frédérick Bousquet, 50m free, 98.78%
  • Clément Mignon, 50m free, 98.20%

Here’s where it gets complicated.

Stravius and Clément Mignon both have the right to swim complementary events for which they have made FINA A standards, since they qualified outright in at least one individual event. But Mignon was third in the 50 free, behind Florent Manaudou and Frédérick Bousquet. That said, Bousquet has no other way of making the roster if he is not chosen by the DTN to “List of 6.” That brings up the interesting question of whether or not there would be a shuffle to allow Manaudou to swim the 100 free; I’ll go out on a limb and say I strongly doubt it. Manaudou seems quite content focusing on defending his title in the 50 free without any other distractions. He knows this race like the back of his hand, and he would like to spend the next four months perfecting all 21 seconds of his race.

Moving down the list, Damien Joly (1500 free), Jordan Coelho (200 fly), Mehdy Metella (100 fly), and Jordan Pothain (400 free) look like shoe-ins. If Pothain, who is also in line for the 200 free after the bizarre timing mishap that pushed Yannick Agnel out of contention for the top two slots, were to concentrate on the 400 and forego the 200, Agnel would be next on the list. And frankly, the only other non-relay FINA A swims belong to Nicolas D’Oriano (1500 free) and Bousquet (50 free). It’s hard not seeing everyone making “The List.”

As we pointed out in the women’s analysis, things are further complicated by the fact that French athletes can still qualify for the Rio relay roster by achieving FINA A cuts at the European Championships next month. Giacomo Perez Dortona, for one, could help qualify the 4×100 medley relay if he makes the cut; otherwise there may not be a medley relay.

Jacques Favre has made it clear that he will announce the roster at 4 pm on Wednesday, April 6.

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Hank

What is the source of the speculation that Pothain would forfeit his spot in the 200m?

Does that come from Pothain, French Media, or Swim Swam opinion?

Did France release any statement explaining the finish or pretend we are all suffering a delusion and saw Pothain touch ahead of Agnel?

Team Rwanda

I believe Mignon gets to chose the 50 free only If no one else is selected after they announce the final roster. If Bousquet is selected, then the 50 free will be “full” and Mignon will not be able to swim. I am confused about the qualification at the European championships, It sounds to me like it will be only for the swimmers who already made the list and with to swim additional events. Also doen’t France get to pick 6 swimmers for the freestyle relays?

Iain

Metella, Pothain etc. don’t need to be ‘saved’ as they are already on the team.

I’d save:
Joly
Coelho
D’Oriano
Bousquet
Bussière
Gilot

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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