2016 French Long Course Nationals in Montpellier: Preview

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.)
  • Results: Available
  • Championship Central

The French Elite Long Course National Championships will take place over 12 sessions from Tuesday, March 29 through Sunday, April 3 at the Antigone pool in Montpellier. The meet will also serve as the selection event to represent France at the 2016 Olympic Games.

The French Federation (FFN) threw down the gauntlet last September, challenging its swimmers to perform better than FINA “A” standards in order to make the team for Rio. The announcement of France’s new qualifying times followed on the heels of the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, where some insiders thought France’s women’s team underperformed. And while some athletes and coaches bemoaned the tightened standards, others welcomed the challenge. Jérémy Stravius, in particular, told his coach Michel Chrétien that if he can go fast enough in French Trials to qualify for Rio, he will have a decent shot at medaling at the 2016 Games.

2016 FINA A Standard France QT for Rio 2016 France QT for Rio 2016 2016 FINA A Standard
Women Men
25.28 24.57 50 Freestyle 21.82 22.27
54.43 53.72 100 Freestyle 48.13 48.99
1:58.96 1:56.78 200 Freestyle 1:46.06 1:47.97
4:09.08 4:05.64 400 Freestyle 3:46.66 3:50.40
8:33.97 8:24.47 800/1500 Freestyle 14:57.19 15:14.77
1:00.25 59.48 100 Backstroke 53.29 54.36
2:10.60 2:08.44 200 Backstroke 1:56.13 1:58.22
1:07.85 1:06.93 100 Breaststroke 59.84 1:00.57
2:26.94 2:23.78 200 Breaststroke 2:09.65 2:11.66
58.74 57.67 100 Butterfly 51.61 52.36
2:09.33 2:06.62 200 Butterfly 1:55.27 1:56.97
2:14.26 2:10.60 200 I.M. 1:58.09 2:00.28
4:43.46 4:35.40 400 I.M. 4:13.29 4:16.71

Prelims will be run in two sessions; the fastest heats (top 8 swimmers in distance events, two circle-seeded heats for 400s, three circle-seeded heats for 100s and 200s, and four for 50s) will swim at 9 AM, allowing for maximum recovery time for the top athletes. The other heats will swim at 11 AM. Finals are to begin at 6:15 PM.

The FFN recently concluded its three-stage Golden Tour Camille Muffat circuit which was designed to give French swimmers and their coaches an opportunity to work in stages, with a “test” meet at the end of each stage to measure their progress. It also allowed them to compete against some of the world’s top swimmers on the Road to Rio.

While the start lists won’t be published until the conclusion of the technical meeting this weekend, and late entries were being accepted through the end of Friday, here are the French swimmers to watch out for this weekend:



  • Coralie BALMY (28): mid-distance free
  • Charlotte BONNET (20): 100/200 free
  • Mathilde CINI (20): sprint back
  • Fanny DEBERGHES (21): breast
  • Ophélie Cyrielle ETIENNE (24): mid-distance free
  • Margaux FABRE (22): free
  • Béryl GASTALDELLO: free/back/fly
  • Lara GRANGEON (24): IM
  • Cloé HACHE (17): fly/free
  • Mélanie HENIQUE (22): sprint fly
  • Fantine LESAFFRE (19): IM
  • Pauline MAHIEU (16): 100/200 back
  • Anna SANTAMANS (21): sprint free
  • Marie WATTEL (17): fly

Women’s Competition

  • Races to watch:

(to be updated)

Men’s Competition

  • Races to watch:

(to be updated)

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4 years ago

Yannick Agnel is 23, not 22. Regardless, it still surprises me how young he is considering his performance in London.

Reply to  markster
4 years ago

It also shows that even though swimmers hit the heights young , it does not mean they can improve just because they were so young.

Dr Lucy was asked in her sidewalk booth -“What happens if you hit your peak in childhood?”

“Well – you just keep going down – a peak is a peak.”

bobo gigi
4 years ago

Haha. Required times are so tough in many events. I support that choice of high standards. Hopefully it has allowed to wake up the women’s team for example. But it will be interesting to see how many athletes qualify. Anyway I doubt they will let a guy stay at home if he missed the qualifying time by a few hundredths of a second. In the swimmers to watch, I would add Jordan Pothain on the men’s side for the 200 free and the 400 free. He has improved a lot in last few months and could play a very important role for the 4X200 free relay. For the rest, THE biggest mistery is obviously Yannick Agnel. I’m unable to predict… Read more »

4 years ago

I hope they loosen the standards for the swimmers that come in well under the A cut. The ones in charge continue to collect their salaries regardless. The A cut is there for a reason and no need to have a double standard.

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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