2016 French SC Nationals Day 1: French Record for Henique in 50 Back

2016 French Short Course National Championships

  • Dates: Thursday, November 17 – Sunday, November 20, 2016
  • Times: prelims 9 am, finals 5:30 pm
  • Location: Angers, France (GMT +1, or 6 hours ahead of N.Y., 9 ahead of L.A.)
  • Results: Available

The French swimming world has descended on Angers, three hours southwest of Paris, to begin the country’s four-day short course national championships. For the (current and future) members of France’s national team, Angers is a selection meet for FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships in Windsor, Canada next month, so the stars are out in force.

Women’s 1500 Meter Freestyle – Fastest Heat


The Short Course Nationals opened with the fastest heat of women’s 1500m freestyle. 16-year-old Eva Bonnet of Belgium, who trains in France at Denain Natation Porte du Hainaut, was first to the wall in 16:11.06. Bonnet, the Belgian national record-holder in the LCM 1500 free with 16:29.28, dropped 10.5 seconds en route to victory. Last year’s winner, Sharon van Rouwendaal of Netherlands, hurt her foot on a turn and didn’t finish the race. She posted on her Instagram account: “Did not finish the 1500m today. Hurt my ankle at the turn. Hoping that tomorrow I can swim again. It’s not as bad as it looks!” Van Rouwendaal trains under coach Philippe Lucas and represents Montpellier Metropole Natation.

The first Frenchwoman to finish, and thus earn the national title in the event, was Adeline Furst of Dauphins Obernai with 16:12.41. Finishing third and pocketing not only the silver medal but also the French national age group record for 17-year-old girls, was Margaux Bernard of Montpellier Metropole (16:18.02).

Men’s 100 Meter Butterfly – Final

  • RF: 50.04 STRAVIUS Jérémy AMIENS METRO. NAT. 12/12/2013 HERNING (DEN)

Mehdy Metella of Marseille won a tight battle against French record-holder Jérémy Stravius of Amiens, 50.16 to 50.29. Stravius was out first, turning at the 50 at 23.31, 3/10 faster than the defending champion Metella. The latter came home in 26.55 to Stravius’ 26.98. Both swam faster than their seed times (50.20 for Metella, 51.36 for Stravius), and both qualified to swim the event in Windsor. Jean-Marc Delices of Canet 66/Font-Romeu won the C final with a new French national age group record (16 years) of 54.27.

Women’s 50 Meter Breaststroke – Final


Solène Gallego of Toulouse won the 50 breast title in 31.07 over Carmella Kitching of Montauban (31.35) and defending champion Justin Bruno of Beauvaisis (31.43). Touching fourth was last year’s bronze medalist, Nolwenn Hervé of Canet 66/Font-Romeu; her 31.54 broke the French national age group record (17 years).

Men’s 400 Meter Freestyle – Final

  • RF: 3:32.25 AGNEL Yannick OLYMPIC NICE NATATION 15/11/2012 ANGERS

French Olympian Jordan Pothain of Nautic Club Alp’38 walked away with the 400 free title, and a qualification for Short Course Worlds, winning in 3:40.72, just off his seed time of 3:39.86. Last year he dropped 5 seconds in this event and finished second behind Stravius with 3:42.13. Tunisia’s Mehdi Lagili was second with 3:44.49, just ahead of Joris Bouchaut of Toulouse (3:44.71), who was also third last year.

Women’s 50 Meter Backstroke – Final

  • RF: 26.61 CINI Mathilde VALENCE TRIATHLON 05/12/2014 DOHA (QAT)

Mélanie Henique, arguably the best all-round sprinter in France, won the 50 back in 26.58 and broke the French National Record by .03. Henique has been training in Marseille for the last 18 months. Last year at this meet she broke the National Record in the 50 fly. Her win in the 50 back today denied second-place Mathilde Cini of Valence, now training with Henique in Marseille, a fourth-straight national title in the event. Cini was runner-up in 27.05. Russian Valériya Egorova of Montpellier Metropole finished third in 27.90. Both Henique and Cini qualified for Windsor.

13-year-old Louise Lefebvre of Mulhouse won the B final in 28.92, breaking the national age group record (13 years) for the second time in the day. Her first NAG came in prelims when she posted the 12th-fastest time of the morning with 29.14.

Men’s 200 Meter Backstroke – Final

  • RF: 1:49.89 STASIULIS Benjamin LAGARDERE PARIS RACING 06/08/2009 LEEDS (GBR)

Oleg Garasymovytch of Avignon, who now trains in Marseille, surprised the field –and himself– by winning the 200 back in 1:53.12. Seeded with 1:55.42, he went 1:55.50 in prelims to lead the field, then dropped another 2.4 in finals for the win. Maxence Orange of Nantes had an even more impressive drop; he came in with 1:56.79 and very nearly won the event. Third at the 100 wall behind Garasymovytch and defending champion Benjamin Stasiulis of Marseille, Orange came home in 57.4, between 2-3 seconds faster than the Marseille teammates. Stasiulis was third in 1:54.54.

Garasymovytch qualified for Short Course Worlds with his swim. In his post-race interview he said, “I am really surprised by my time because I’ve only been with Marseille for two-and-a-half months and I didn’t expect to be so fast so soon. I didn’t think I would qualify for World Championships; I am very happy to be able to realize one of my dreams.”

Souhaiel Chatti of SFO Courbevoie won the B final and broke the national age group record (16 years) with 1:58.15. Chatti was seeded with 2:01.89. He dropped 1.6 seconds in prelims to qualify 10th overall for finals, then won a tight race which saw three swimmers finish under 1:59. Just behind Chatti were Yohann Ndoye Brouard of Dauphins D’Annecy (1:58.52) and Baptiste Léger of ES Massy (1:58.74).

Women’s 200 Meter IM – Final

  • RF: 2:07.69 MUFFAT Camille OLYMPIC NICE NATATION 10/12/2009 ISTANBUL (TUR)

Cyrielle Duhamel broke the national age group record (16 years) in the 200 IM twice in one day. She dropped 1.8 seconds to lead all the qualifiers from prelims with 2:13.23; in finals she took another .10 slice off her new record to settle the mark at 2:13.13, which was good enough for fourth place overall.

Nice’s Charlotte Bonnet won the national title with 2:08.97, 2/10 off her seed time. Both she and second-place Fantine Lesaffre of Montpellier Metropole (2:10.69) qualified for Windsor. Defending champion Lara Grangeon of Calédoniens, now training with Bonnet in Nice, finished third in 2:12.94. Van Rouwendaal, who had been second in prelims, scratched the final because of her foot injury.

Men’s 100 Meter IM – Final

RF: 50.96 MANAUDOU Florent CN MARSEILLE 07/12/2013 DIJON

The fastest 100 IMer of the day was Jeremy Desplanches of Switzerland, who trains in Nice. He touched the wall in 53.81 but being a foreign athlete, it was second-place Clément Mignon of Marseille who was able to retain his crown. The defending champion went 53.94, just ahead of last-year’s runner-up Eddie Moueddene of Amiens (54.10); both men qualified for Worlds.

Women’s 100 Meter Freestyle – Final


Defending champion Anna Santamans, the French national record-holder in the 50 free who moved from Nice to Marseille after Rio, won the 100 free in 53.51. Marie Wattel, who also left Nice and now represents Montpellier Metropole, finished second with 53.54 and earned a qualification for Windsor. Assia Touati of Dauphins Toulouse came in third with 54.03.

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bobo gigi
5 years ago

I expected a faster time from Pothain after quick prelims in 3.41. I’ve remarked he’s used to swimming fast in prelims and often can’t change gear in final. Hopefully he keeps the best for SCM worlds. Talking about Pothain, Philippe Lucas has said this week he will win the 400 free gold medal in Tokyo. Bold prediction. I would have not dared that one. But why not?

Metella looks good Like Stravius. Both guys had disappointing olympic games. Especially Stravius who returns to his first love, backstroke. At least in short course. Smart when we know the level of his underwaters.

French swimming is in total rebuilding mode after a golden last decade. Medals will be very rare for a… Read more »

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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