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.
- Florent Manaudou, 50m free, 21.42
- Camille Lacourt, 100m back, 52.95
- Jérémy Stravius, 100m free, 47.97
- Clément Mignon, 100m free, 48.01
- 4×100 free relay, 3:12.51: Stravius, Clément Mignon, Florent Manaudou, Mehdy Metella
- 4×200 free relay, 7:07.81: Stravius, Jordan Pothain, Yannick Agnel, Lorys Bourelly
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.