2018 European Champion Fantine Lesaffre Is Training at NC State

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 1

February 01st, 2022 News

Yui Ohashi

European Champion Fantine Lesaffre has a new training ground, and it’s a long way from home

The 27-year old IMer has landed in the United States at North Carolina State University, where she is training with the pro group Wolfpack Elite.

She joined the group after the conclusion of the 2021 ISL season. Her boyfriend, fellow 2016 French Olympian Nico D’Oriano, joined the team in the club.

According to NC State head coach Braden Holloway, both have made Raleigh their new training home.

Lesaffre swam an exhibition 200 yard IM at the team’s dual meet last weekend, clocking a 1:57.47.

Lesaffre represented France at both the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

In Rio, Lesaffre placed 30th in the 200 IM (2:15.71) and 23rd in the 400 IM (4:44.47). Five years later, in Tokyo, she placed 21st in the 200 IM (2:14.20) and 13th in the 400 IM (4:41.98).

While she missed peaking for either of her two Olympic appearances, she swam very fast in between those two meets. That includes winning a long course European Championship gold medal in 2018 ahead of Ilaria Cusinato, Hannah Miley, and Aimee Willmott, among others.

That was France’s first ever medal of any color in the 400 IM at the long course European Championships.

Her 4:34.17 from that meet remains her best time, more than three seconds ahead of her best time from any other meet. That time ranked her 2nd in the world that season, behind only Yui Ohashi of Japan (who wound up being the Olympic champion in the event in Tokyo).

2017-2018 LCM WOMEN 400 IM

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While Lesaffre’s 200 IM continued to progress into 2019 (best time of 2:11.70 at the French Championships), she stalled coming out of the pandemic, and was well off her lifetime bests in both races.

She previously was training at CN Antibes.

Lesaffre swam with Energy Standard in season 1 of the International Swimming League, but sat out season 2. She reappeared in season 3, swimming 4 regular season meets for Aqua Centurions, scoring 14 total points in those matches. She didn’t race in the Playoff round, which Aqua advanced to for the first time in three seasons.

Besides her long course gold at Euros in 2018, she won bronze in the 400 IM at the 2018 World Short Course Championships and the 2017 European Short Course Championships. She holds the French Records in the 400 IM in long course, the 200 IM in short course, and the 400 IM in short course.

Other current members of the Wolfpack Elite training group are World Record holder Coleman Stewart, Justin Ress, Aly Tetzloff, Paul Le, and the aforementioned D’Oriano.

D’Oriano was a 2016 French Olympian, where he finished 40th in the 1500 free. The 24-year old hasn’t represented France in international competition since the 2016 Olympic Games.

While NC State is one of the top collegiate programs in the United States, and their swimmers have had success in the ISL (where Stewart broke his 100 back World Record), the IM races have not been a huge strength of the program at the top end, with one notable exception: Andreas Vazaios, who is the 4th-best 200 yard IMer in the NCAA over the last decade and who has had a successful ISL career. He is now training at Loughborough in the UK.

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Human Ambition
1 year ago

Dino is a favorite D-coach of mine

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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