2018 French Nationals Saint-Raphaël – Preview and Links

2018 French Elite Long Course Nationals at Saint-Raphaël

  • Tuesday, May 22 – Sunday, May 27, 2018
  • Stade Nautique Alain Chateigner
  • 50m
  • Prelims at 9am local/Finals at 6pm local (Saturday 5:30, Sunday 5:45)
  • Selection for European Championships
  • Televised on beIN SPORTS
  • Meet Central
  • Start Lists
  • Live Results

The French Elite National Championships begin tomorrow in Saint Raphael, France. This meet serves as the selection for the 2018 European Championships this August in Glasgow. The selection criteria (see below) are such that the athletes must perform both in prelims and in finals.

Headliners include French stars Jonathan Atsu (free), Thomas Avetand (back), Paul-Gabriel Bedel (back), Charlotte Bonnet (free), Joris Bouchaut (free), Lorys Bourelly (free), Christophe Brun (back), Théo Bussière (breast), Mathilde Cini (back), Jordan Coelho (fly), Camille Daubra (breast), Fanny Deberghes (breast), Cyrielle Duhamel (IM), Margaux Fabre (free), Logan Fontaine (open water), Béryl Gastaldello (back), Lara Grangeon (IM), Maxime Grousset (free), Mélanie Henique (fly), Damien Joly (distance free), Fantine Lesaffre (IM), Pauline Mahieu (back), Geoffroy Mathieu (back), Mehdy Metella (fly), Clément Mignon (free), Marc-Antoine Olivier (open water), Maxence Orange (back), Jordan Pothain (free), Jérémy Stravius (back/free), and Marie Wattel (fly/free).

Top women international swimmers (most of whom train in France) will include Anna Egorova (RUS), Valériya Egorova (RUS), Sharon van Rouwendaal (NED), Rim Ouenniche (TUN), Tereza Martinkova (CZE), Rebecca Matthews (GBR), Amel Melih (ALG), and Farah Ben Khelil (TUN).

On the men’s side, the internationals are Oussama Sahnoune (ALG), Julien Henx (LUX), Nazim Belkhoudja (ALG), Souhail Hamouchane (MAR), Mohamed Samy (EGY), Mehdi Lagili (TUN), Mohamed-Ali Chaouachi (TUN), Malek Louissi (TUN), Maksim Dzialendzik (BLR), Nazim Benbara (ALG), Driss Lahrichi (MAR), Max Mannes (LUX), Kacper Pastula (POL), Felipe Vargas (ARG), Wassim Elloumi (TUN), Taki M’Rabet (TUN), Talal M’Rabet (TUN), Abdoul Niane (SEN), Jeremy Desplanches (SUI), Nouamane Atahi (MAR), Jaouad Syoud (ALG), and Melek Masmoudi (TUN).

As is the custom for selection meets in France, only one non-eligible (i.e., foreign) athlete will be permitted in each final. The FFN’s criteria for making the French squad for European Championships are:

  • The four fastest swimmers who achieve, in prelims, the qualifying times below in a particular event; AND
  • Those who also place among the top four eligible (French) swimmers in final of that event.
Women Event Men
25.33 50m free 22.35
54.91 100m free 49.17
2:00.06 200m free 1:48.29
4:10.48 400m free 3:49.46
8:34.96 800m free 7:57.62
16:28.00 1500m free 15:07.71
28.48 50m back 25.20
1:01.44 100m back 54.86
2:13.03 200m back 2:00.42
31.14 50m breast 27.64
1:08.79 100m breast 1:01.30
2:28.59 200m breast 2:12.75
26.14 50m fly 23.60
59.11 100m fly 52.78
2:11.85 200m fly 1:58.11
2:14.99 200m IM 2:01.34
4:43.42 400m IM 4:19.82


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bobo gigi
4 years ago

Bussière 59.46 in the 100 breast final!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He was in 1.00.62 last year at nationals and his PB was 1.00.33 from early May.
Of course we finally find a fast breaststroker when we don’t have fast backstrokers anymore….

Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

And your Fast Flyer is the Fast Freestyler also.. soooo

Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

Bussière caught me off guard, but I was very disappointed aside from he and Charlotte. David Aubry and Logan Fontaine nice breakthroughs, but we need the new star of French swimming to appear. Who might that be? I’d hoped to see Wattel a lot fastet today.

Thomas Selig
Reply to  Dee
4 years ago

Wattel said in her interview that she found it hard to really push herself due to the lack of competition. Bussière with a massive PB, if he can nudge down a bit further he could put himself into (minor) medal contention. Re the relay, bronze is quite open behind GB and Russia (who you would expect to be battling it out for gold). Matthieu had a break-out last year in the 200 back, but slipped off the blocks in the 100 IIRC. Could he be the missing link? Stravius can provide a decent free/fly leg (whichever Metella isn’t swimming).

Agree not much else to shout about. Good to see a couple of qualifiers in the men’s 400 free, though another… Read more »

Jay Ryan
4 years ago

Man those are (again) some weird selection procedures!! Sometimes the French come up with some good ideas like the Citroen DS. Sometimes not so good, like eating snails and the Renault Aventime. These selection procedures take the cake, though. Why design procedures that leave your best swimmers at home?

bobo gigi
Reply to  Jay Ryan
4 years ago

The first part of your comment is funny.
But I disagree about your last sentence. If you’re not able to swim that kind of times in prelims (based on the 12th times at Euros) then I think you have nothing to do there. We have sent enough “tourists” in the last competitions!

Eric Ress
Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

I understand the “logic” behind these selection criteria to avoid bringing tourists, but I feel that for meets in non-Olympic/World Championship years sending a larger team consisting of younger athletes may prove to help with development. France brought a large team to the 2010 European Championships in Budapest and although it was a drastically different group of swimmers, many young athletes were able to use this meet as a stepping stone to bigger things.

With Paris 2024 coming sooner than later I would think that the FFN would want to develop their younger swimmers rather than rely solely on the senior athletes who are getting older.

Thomas Selig
4 years ago

An interesting selection process, to say the least. I think the process is nuts for the relays (see post in response to EP), but for the individual it makes sense to some degree IMO. One of the French problems in recent champs has been swimmers being nowhere near their best in prelims and not making semis/finals, when they could have done so had they been close to or on their best times. It’s possible that the FFN has decided to impose tough-ish prelim QTs in order to get the swimmers used to swimming fast(er) in prelims. Having said that, it’s slightly odd to not also ask for a QT in finals IMO.

Anyway, those hitting the QTs this morning:
… Read more »

4 years ago

French swimming has been in decline for a few years so I don;t think we can expect many eye-catching times. The selection criteria are somewhat weird but with the lack of depth the French federation probably felt they had to impose target times in prelims otherwise qualifying would have been really humdrum.

4 years ago

weird selection process

Thomas Selig
Reply to  E P
4 years ago

If you think that’s weird, you wait until you see the process for the relays. They’re picking entirely based on prelims! That is:
– for freestyle, they’re picking the top 5 IN PRELIMS if the times of those ranked 2-5 added up hit the QT.
– for medley, they’re picking the top from each event IN PRELIMS subject to QT being reached, with the caveat that a swimmer can’t be picked twice, e.g. Metella for free and fly (they would go with the next best free or fly swimmer, whoever makes the strongest relay in that case).
– for mixed freestyle, they’re taking top three men and top three women in prelims, subject to 2nd and 3rd… 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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