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
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. 807 swimmers (343 women and 464 men) representing 220 teams (of which 8 are foreign delegations) are ready to do battle.
- 50 free – French record: 20.94 4/26/2009 Montpellier (FRA), Frédérick Bousquet (28), CN Marseille
- French standard for Rio: 21.82
Like all the sprint freestyle events, the 50 is a tight field. Marseille’s Florent Manaudou (21.19) is expected to defend his title and punch his ticket for Rio. His teammates Clément Mignon (22.08), Fabien Gilot (22.13), and Frédérick Bousquet (22.36) are all gunning for the second spot on the Rio squad. They will be challenged by Nosy Pélagie of EMS Bron (22.35) and Jérémy Stravius of Amiens Métropole (22.37).
- 100 free – French record: 46.94 4/23/2009 Montpellier (FRA), Alain Bernard (26), CN Antibes
- French standard for Rio: 48.13
The 100 distance should be a thriller. Manaudou (seeded first with 47.98) is hoping to show he is ready for the 50-100 double in Rio, while defending champion Stravius (48.34), Gilot (48.36), Marseille’s Mehdy Metella (48.37), and Mignon (48.38) are all within striking distance. Yannick Agnel of Mulhouse is seeded with 48.68 and is part of the conversation as well, although both he and Stravius will be focused most heavily on the 200 free.
- 200 free – French record: 1:43.14 7/30/2012 London (GBR), Yannick Agnel (20), Olympic Nice Natation
- French standard for Rio: 1:46.06
After the 100 free, the event most up in the air and, because of relay implications, most exciting is the 200 free. Defending champion Agnel is top seed with 1:45.63, which is 3/10 faster than his winning time from 2015. Stravius comes in seeded second in 1:47.10; he gave up the 100 back last summer to focus on freestyle, and this is the event he hopes to swim in Rio. Ahmed Mathlouthi of Tunisia, who swims for Sarcelles, is third with 1:47.65; he will not be allowed to swim in the final should he finish in the top 8, though. Grégory Mallet of Marseille is fourth with 1:47.96. Jordan Pothain of Alp’38 (1:48.12), Mignon (1:48.29), and Lorys Bourelly of Toulouse (1:48.42) are threats as well.
- 400 free – French record: 3:43.85 3/23/2011 Strasbourg (FRA), Yannick Agnel (19), Olympic Nice Natation
- French standard for Rio: 3:46.66
Pothain leads the field in the 400 free with 3:48.50. He and Damien Joly of Antibes go back and forth in this event; Joly won last year ahead of Pothain and Toulouse’s Joris Bouchaut. This year Joly comes in with the second-fastest seed time (3:48.86). Angel is third with 3:49.65, followed by Bouchaut (3:51.02) and Anthony Pannier of Sarcelles (3:51.77).
- 800 free – French record: 7:48.28 8/13/2010 Budapest (HUN), Sébastien Rouault (24), Mulhouse ON
It’s the same cast of characters in the 800, with defending champion Joly (7:50.30) and Bouchaut (7:52.37) out front, followed by Nicolas D’Oriano of Toulouse (7:59.87) and Pannier (7:59.95).
- 1500 free – French record: 14:55.17 8/11/2010 Budapest (HUN), Sébastien Rouault (24), Mulhouse ON
- French standard for Rio: 14:57.19
Joly has already made the standard for Rio with his seed time of 14:56.13, 9 seconds faster than his winning time from 2015, but he needs to do it in Montpellier to be selected. Hungary’s Gergely Gyurta is seeded second with 14:57.44, but technically he cannot swim in the fastest heat and so Bouchaut (15:07.79) and D’Oriano (15:13.31) will challenge Joly for the qualification.
- 50 back – French record: 24.07 8/12/2010 Budapest (HUN), Camille Lacourt (25), CN Marseille 12/08/2010
Camille Lacourt of Marseille won this event in 24.56 over Stravius and Manaudou last year. He’s got the 50 all to himself this time as the other two are both focused solely on freestyle. Lacourt is entered with 24.23; his closest competitors are Eddie Moueddene of Amiens with 25.40 and Paul Pijulet of Toulouse (25.76).
- 100 back – French record: 52.11 8/10/2010 Budapest (HUN), Camille Lacourt (25), CN Marseille 10/08/2010
- French standard for Rio: 53.29
Lacourt’s 52.48 from his silver-medal performance in Kazan last summer is the leading time in the men’s 100 back. He went 54.84-54.34-54.91 on the three stages of the Golden Tour, but in Montpellier the only other qualifiers under 55 are Lacourt’s Marseille teammate, Benjamin Stasiulis, with 54.17, and Moueddene with 54.80.
- 200 back – French record: 1:56.39 3/23/2012 Dunkerque (FRA), Benjamin Stasiulis (26), Amiens Métropole Natation 23/03/2012
- French standard for Rio: 1:56.13
The 200 is Stasiulis’ event. He comes in with 1:58.30, .15 faster than his winning time last year. His challengers are Oleg Garasymovytch of Avignon (2:00.24), Paul-Gabriel Bedel from Marseille (2:01.73), and Geoffroy Mathieu of Clermont (2:01.77)
- 50 breast – French record: 27.36 4/22/2009 Montpellier (FRA), Giacomo Perez Dortona (20), CN Marseille 22/04/2009
French record-holder and defending champion Giacomo Perez Dortona of Marseille is seeded nearly a second faster than his next competitor. He tops the field with 27.39, ahead of seven rivals whose times are within .26 of each other: Jean Dencausse of Marseille (28.23), Stéphane Debaere of Polynésie (28.29), Thomas Dahlia of Antibes (28.39), Thibaut Capitaine of Pontoie (28.40), Vincent Dassie of Bordeaux Bastide (28.47), Theo Bussière of Marseille (28.49) and Melvin Maillot of Courbevoie (28.49).
- 100 breast – French record: 58.64 7/27/2009 Rome (ITA), Hugues Duboscq (28), CN Le Havre 27/07/2009
- French standard for Rio: 59.84
Perez Dortona is the best-placed to make the Rio squad, seeded with his winning time from 2015 (1:00.31), but he has yet to crack the 1:00 barrier. Four more come in with sub-1:02s: Dahlia (1:01.32), his Antibes teammate Quentin Coton (1:01.59), Jean Dencausse of Marseille (1:01.94), and Belgium’s Basten Caerts (1:01.96).
- 200 breast – French record: 2:08.94 8/14/2008 Beijing (CHN), Hugues Duboscq (27), CN Le Havre 14/08/2008
- French standard for Rio: 2:09.65
Dahlia is the top seed with 2:11.43, 3/10 ahead of his gold-medal performance at 2015 nationals. Coton, last year’s runner-up, is seeded 1.3 seconds faster than he went in finals last year (2:11.60). Dencausse comes in with 2:13.73, ahead of William Debourges of Antibes (2:14.23), Perez Dortona (2:14.28), and Quentin Callais of Canet 66 (2:14.72).
- 50 fly – French record: 22.84 4/22/2009 Montpellier (FRA), Frédérick Bousquet (28), CN Marseille 22/04/2009 AND 22.84 8/2/2015 Kazan (RUS), Florent Manaudou (25), CN Marseille 02/08/2015
It’s unclear exactly when they plan to swim the finals of 50 strokes, but prelims of the 50 fly are scheduled for the morning of Day 5. With the 100 free final on the evening of Day 4 and the 50 free on Day 6, the jury is out as to whether or not Manaudou will scratch this event, but he is entered with the fastest seed time of 22.84. His teammate and co-record holder, Bousquet, is seeded second in 23.54, with Metella (23.69) and Yonel Govindin of Toulouse (23.87) right behind.
- 100 fly – French record: 51.24 8/8/2015 Kazan (RUS), Mehdy Metella (23), CN Marseille 08/08/2015
- French standard for Rio: 51.61
Marseille’s Metella comes in with his French record of 51.24 from Kazan; he won this event last year in 51.74, 1.7 seconds ahead of Jordan Coelho of Vanves, seeded fourth this year with 53.14. Between them are Joeri Verlinden of Netherlands with 52.02 and Stravius of Amiens with 52.78. Another half-dozen are seeded with 53-mids, including Lacourt.
- 200 fly – French record: 1:54.62 4/18/2002 Chalon-Sur-Saône (FRA), Franck Esposito (31), CN Antibes 18/04/2002
- French standard for Rio: 1:55.27
Coehlo won the 200 with 1:57.99 last year; he’s already 1.5 seconds faster with a seed time of 1:56.47. Toulouse’s Paul Lemaire, runner-up in 2015, is seeded second with 1:58.50. Also under 2:00 are Thomas Vilaceca of Montauban (1:58.87), Matthias Marsau of Toulouse (1:58.96), and Martin Maisonneuve of Montauban (1:59.42).
- 200 IM – French record: 1:57.89 4/11/2013 Rennes (FRA), Jérémy Stravius (25), Amiens Métropole Natation 11/04/2013
- French standard for Rio: 1:58.09
Stravius is seeded with 1:57.89, his French record from 2013. He didn’t swim the 200 IM at any of the stops of the Golden Tour this year, but he won this event at 2015 French Short Course Nationals last November. Switzerland’s Jeremy Desplanches, who trains in Nice, is seeded second with 2:01.18. Ganesh Pedurand of Toulouse comes in third with 2:01.73. Guillaume Laure of Antibes, who was runner-up to Pedurand in this event last year, is seed fourth at 2:02.81.
- 400 IM – French record: 4:16.97 4/23/2009 Montpellier (FRA), Anthony Pannier (21), CN Braud St-Louis 23/04/2009
- French standard for Rio: 4:13.29
It almost looks like a typo, but indeed the FFN has set the qualifying time for Rio at more than 3.5 second faster than the French national record. Desplanches leads the charge with 4:20.27. Coton is the fastest French qualifier with 4:20.94. D’Oriano is seeded third with 4:22.57; Laure is fourth with 4:23.57.