2019 French Elite Nationals: Day 1 Finals Live Recap

2019 French Elite National Championships– 50M



  • FINA “A” cut: 58.48
  • Time to achieve for the world championships: 58.30
  • French record: Aurore Mongel (MON) – 56.89 (27/07/09 – Rome)


  1. Béryl Gastaldello, CN Marseille – 57.69
  2. Marie Wattel, Montpellier Métropole – 58.00
  3. Lena Bousquin, CN Marseille – 59.56

Béryl Gastaldello, an All-American from Texas A&M University who represents Cercle des Nageurs de Marseille when swimming in France, stared the meet of with a bang, breaking the Championship Record in the women’s 100 fly with 57.69. Gastaldello had entered the event with no time and swam in the first heat of the morning. She nonetheless produced a 58.46 in prelims, and although she qualified second for the final, she missed the French cut for Gwangju by .16. Marie Wattel, who is at Loughborough University but represents Montpellier in France, came in second with 58.00, just off her morning time of 57.81 which *did* qualify her for the event at Worlds. Third to the wall was Marseille’s Lena Bousquin in 59.56. That is Bousquin’s first sub-1:00. She was seeded with 1:01.82 and swam 1:00.14 in prelims to qualify 4th for the final.

Wattel qualified outright for the 2019 World Championships in the 100 fly, having swum the French qualifying standard in the morning and finished in top-2 at night. (One might assume that Gastaldello will be chosen for the women’s medley relay, given that her 100 fly time is now the fastest. But that decision rests with the National Technical Director.)

Wattel deuxième du 100 m papillon

[EN DIRECT] Natation – Championnats de France 50m – du 16 au 21 avril 2019 à RennesDeuxième du 100 m papillon, derrière Beryl Gastaldello, Marie Wattel a malgré tout décroché son ticket pour les Mondiaux de Gwangju l'été prochain. Réagissez sur Twitter : #Rennes2019 @FFNatation

Posted by Fédération Française de Natation on Tuesday, April 16, 2019

MEN’S 400 IM

  • FINA “A” cut: 4:17.90
  • Time to achieve for the world championships: 4.16.10
  • French record: Anthony Pannier (CN Braud St Louis) – 4.16.97 (23/04/2009 – Montpellier)


  1. Jeremy Desplanches, Olympic Nice Natation – 4:12.86
  2. Samy Helmbacher, Dauphins Obernai – 4:18.17
  3. Antoine Marc, Mulhouse – 4:18.43

Switzerland’s Jeremy Desplanches, who trains in Nice under Fabrice Pellerin, broke his own Swiss National Record in the 400 IM once again, obliterating the field with 4:12.86. His previous record of 4:13.11 had stood for two years. Desplanches was out fast in 57.02 on the fly. Léon Marchand of Toulouse was a second behind him, followed by Samy Helmbacher (Dauphins Obernai) and Geoffrey Renard of Toulouse. All three were 58-low-to-mid, while the rest of the field turned at the minute mark. Desplanches pulled further ahead with the backstroke, splitting 1:04.26, again the fastest by over a second. He maintained his lead over the breast with 1:12.07, but it wasn’t the fastest leg in the heat. Mulhouse’s Antoine Marc went 1:10.95 to pull into third place, passing his teammate Clément Bidard whose backstroke split of 1:05 had moved him toward the front of the pack behind Desplanches.

Desplanches came home in 59.51 to seal his new record of 4:12.86. Helmbacher touched second in 4:18.17, just holding off Marc (4:18.43) whose final leg of 58.07 was almost 2.5 seconds faster than Helmbacher’s. Marc, who had qualified 9th for the 100 breast final, had scratched that event to focus on the IM.

No French swimmer qualified for World Championships in the men’s 400 IM.


  • FINA “A” cut: 23.66
  • Time to achieve for the world championships: 23.30
  • French record: Fred Bousquet (CN Marseille) – 22.84 (22/04/2009 – Montpellier)


  1. Mehdy Metella, CN Marseille – 23.56
  2. Jérémy Stravius, Amiens Métropole Nat. – 23.58
  3. Yonel Govindin, CN Marseille – 23.84

It was a battle to the finish between French Olympians Mehdy Metella of Marseille and Jérémy Stravius of Amiens, who now trains in Nice with Pellerin. Metella got to the wall 2/100 ahead of Stravius, and although they both hit the FINA A cut, neither swimmer met the French standards to swim the event at World Championships. It took going sub-23.3 in prelims and then finishing in the top 2 in the final. Metella is already qualified in the 100 fly and 100 free, having medaled in both events at European Championships last summer, but Stravius has yet to make the team. He has three more chances this week: 50 back (Thursday), 100 free (Friday), and 100 fly (Sunday).

Marseille’s Yonel Govindin was the only other sub-24 in the final, stopping the clock in 23.84. He came into the meet seeded sixth with 24.12, and qualified sixth for the final with 24.35.

Stravius deuxième du 50 m papillon

[EN DIRECT] Natation – Championnats de France 50m – du 16 au 21 avril 2019 à RennesDeuxième du 50 m papillon, deux centièmes derrière Mehdy Metella, STRAVIUS Jérémy – Page officielle était satisfait de sa course et de son état de forme avant d'entrer dans le vif du sujet et d'aborder ses courses de prédilection. Réagissez sur Twitter : #Rennes2019 @FFNatation

Posted by Fédération Française de Natation on Tuesday, April 16, 2019


  • FINA “A” cut: 4:10.57
  • Time to achieve for the world championships: 4.09.06
  • French record: Camille Muffat (ONN) – 4.01.13 (27/07/09 – Rome)


  1. Anna Egorova (RUS), Montpellier Métropole – 4:10.73
  2. Fantine Lesaffre, State de Vanves – 4:12.07
  3. Lara Grangeon, CN Calédoniens – 4:12.68

Russia’s Anna Egorova, who trains in Montpellier with the Philippe Lucas group, cruised to a 4:10.73 win in the women’s 400 free. Seeded with 4:08.18, Egorova led by about a stroke over Fantine Lesaffre (Vanves) at the 100. Lesaffre outsplit the Russian over the middle two 100s, but Egorove took off over the final two laps, closing in 1:01 to win by over a body length. Lesaffre hung in for second place, taking nearly 8/10 off her seed time to finish with 4:12.07. Lara Grangeon (CN Calédoniens) crept up on Lesaffre over the second half of the race and finished in third place with 4:12.68, improving her seed time (4:15.06) by 2.4 seconds.

No French swimmer qualified outright for the 400 free, but Lesaffre has already made the French team in the 400 IM by virtue of her European title in the event last summer.


  • FINA “A” cut: 59.95
  • Time to achieve for the world championships: 59.90
  • French record: Hugues Duboscq (CN Le Havre) – 58.56 (27/07/2009 – Rome)


  1. Théo Bussière, CN Marseille – 1:00.31
  2. Antoine Viquerat, Dauphins Toulouse – 1:01.38
  3. Thomas Boursac Cervera Lortet, Dauphins Toulouse – 1:01.68

The final win of the night went to Marseille’s Théo Bussière. The 2016 Olympian put up a stellar performance given all he’s been through over the last year. After a shoulder operation in October, three months out of the water to heal, picking up his training again in January, then showing up at French Nationals and trying to make the Worlds team, Bussière showed grit. His perseverance paid off. While he was 9/10 off his best time (59.46), he nonetheless beat the field by a body length and earned another national title to add to his collection.

Bussière went out like he’d been shot out of a cannon. He turned at 27.97, already half a second up on Toulouse’s Antoine Viquerat (28.38), Cergy Pontoise’s Thibaut Capitaine (28.58), and Jean Dencausse (28.77), Bussière’s training partner in Marseille. Bussière held on over the second half of the race, while some of the early leaders faded. Bussière touched in 1:00.31, a full body ahead of Viquerat (1:01.38), while Toulouse’s Thomas Boursac Cervera Lortet pulled into third at the end, going 1:01.68 to touch out Capitaine (1:01.71).

Qualified individually for Gwangju:

Women Event Men
50 free
Charlotte Bonnet 100 free Mehdy Metella
Charlotte Bonnet 200 free
400 free
800 free
1500 free
50 back
100 back
200 back
50 breast
100 breast
200 breast
50 fly
Marie Wattel 100 fly Mehdy Metella
200 fly
200 IM
Fantine Lesaffre 400 IM


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3 years ago

Where is Leveaux? He made a comeback with salo?

3 years ago

Mean reversion has really hit French sprinting hard

Reply to  John26
3 years ago

Florent Manaudou is coming back for Tokyo, honestly I can see him beating Dressel (or MA) and reclaiming his title after Rio.

Reply to  Swimmar
3 years ago

he hasn’t yet been really swimming and u see him beating 2 champions ? u must have a special Magical ball or something ….lol

3 years ago

He dropped a 20.xx SCM in a relay around the time of Short Course Worlds at an obscure French Meet after not officially coming out of retirement and only swimming occasionally. I would NOT count him out lmao

Prison MIke
Reply to  25BACKSTROKE
3 years ago

20.6 with 3 training sessions the week leading up to it

3 years ago

he probably meant that Manaudou probably has the best shot at dethroning them given his potential and past.

3 years ago

is Gastaldello a lock to qualify elsewhere? should be easy for her to make the relay, is that enough to let her swim individuals?

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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