2019 French Elite Nationals: Day 2 Finals Live Recap

2019 French Elite National Championships– 50M

Day 2: Wednesday 17 April 2019

Men’s 1500 Freestyle

  • FINA “A” cut: 15:07.38
  • Time to achieve for the world championships: 14: 59.18
  • French record: 14: 48.90 – Damien Joly (CN Antibes) – 08/12/2016 – Rio de Janeiro (BRA)


  1. David Aubry, Montpellier Métropole Natation – 14:57.56
  2. Damien Joly, Montpellier Métropole Natation – 14:58.15
  3. Marc-Antoine Olivier, Denain Natation Porte du Hainaut – 15:10.60

After both going under the previous Championship Record in heats of the men’s 1500 and satisfying the first half of the qualifying criteria for 2019 World Championships with 14:54.42 and 14:56.96, respectively, David Aubry and Damien Joly officially punched their Gwangju tickets by finishing 1st and 2nd in the final. This time they went 14:57.56 and 14:58.15, finishing in the same order.

This was the second year in a row that Aubry and Joly went 1-2; last year their respective times were 15:01.85 and 15:03.61.

Marc-Antoine Olivier was third, swapping places from their prelims finishes with Paul Beaugrand of Antibes. Olivier touched in 15:10.60, more than 18 second faster than in heats on Tuesday morning. Beaugrand went 15:12.32, improving his prelims time by 2.6 seconds.

Women’s 50 Freestyle

  • FINA “A” cut: 25.04
  • Time to achieve for the world championships: 24.90
  • French record: 24.54 – Anna Santamans (CN Marseille) – 29/07/2017 – Budapest (HUN)


  1. Charlotte Bonnet, Olympic Nice Natation – 24.77
  2. Mélanie Henique, CN Marseille – 25.05
  3. Marie Wattel, Montpellier Métropole Natation – 25.14

Nice’s Charlotte Bonnet successfully defended her 2018 national title in the 50 free going 24.77, 1/100 faster than she’d been a year ago. Marseille’s Melanie Henique was runner-up in 25.05, .18 faster than her seed time. Marie Wattel, who trains in the U.K. at Loughborough University but represents Montpellier, moved up from 4th in prelims to the last step of the podium in finals. Wattel went 25.14 to edge Marseille’s Anna Santamans (25.19) and Lena Bousquin (25.25). Santamans set the French Record in this event at World Championships in Budapest in 2017.

No one qualified individually for Worlds in the women’s 50 free. Bonnet went 25.02 in prelims, followed by Santamans (25.24), Henique (25.30), Bousquin (25.43), and Wattel (25.43).

Women’s 100 Backstroke

  • FINA “A” cut: 1:00.59
  • Time to achieve for the world championships: 1:00.42
  • French record: 59.50 – Laure Manaudou (Canet 66 Natation) – 20/03/2008 – Eindhoven (NED)


  1. Béryl Gastaldello, CN Marseille – 1:00.07
  2. Pauline Mahieu, Canet 66 Natation – 1:01.71
  3. Lila Touili, CN Marseille – 1:02.02

After a couple of disappointing mornings, in which she failed to hit the time required by the French Federation for qualification for Worlds, Marseille’s Béryl Gastaldello came roaring back with a big statement in the 100 back in finals. As we explained more fully here, a problem with the start of her prelims race in the 100 back led the French National Technical Director to declare that Gastaldello would be selected to the French team for Gwangju if she swam 1:00.42 or faster in the final and finished in the top-2. She did that and then some. Gastaldello nailed her final swim, going 1:00.07 to beat her previous best by .10.

Pauline Mahieu of Canet 66 Natation finished second in 1:01.71, just ahead of Lila Touili of Marseille (1:02.02). Touili took .44 off her seed time with that swim.

Defending champion Mathilde Cini of Valence finished just off the podium in fourth with 1:02.11.

Men’s 100 Backstroke

  • FINA “A” cut: 54.06
  • Time to achieve for the world championships: 54.06
  • French record: 52.11 – Camille Lacourt (CN Marseille) – 10/08/2010 – Budapest (HUN)


  1. Yohann Ndoye Brouard, Dauphins D’Annecy – 54.40
  2. Stanislas Huille, SN Versailles – 54.76
  3. Paul-Gabriel Bedel, CN Marseille – 54.81

Were it not for Yohann Ndoye Brouard of Annecy, the men’s 100 back podium would have looked exactly as it had in 2018. Ndoye Brouard crashed the party, though, and edged defending champion Stanislaus Huille of SN Versaille, 54.40 to 54.76, for his first national title. Paul-Gabriel Bedel of Marseille moved down to third this year with 54.81, while last year’s bronze medalist, Maxence Orange of Nantes, finished 4th with 54.92.

No one qualified for the World Championships team, however, as the time required in prelims was 54.06.

Women’s 100 Breaststroke

  • FINA “A” cut: 1:07.43
  • Time to achieve for the world championships: 1:07.33
  • 1:07.97 – Sophie de Ronchi (ES Massy Natation) – 23/03/2011 – Strasbourg


  1. Fanny Deberghes, ASPTT Montpellier – 1:08.60
  2. Camille Dauba, CN Sarreguemines – 1:09.28
  3. Justine Delmas, CNO St.-Germain-en-Laye – 1:10.47

Fanny Deberghes from ASPTT Montpellier successfully defended her 2018 title in the women’s 100 breast, going 1:08.60 to win by half a body length. Camille Dauba of CN Sarreguemines stopped the clock at 1:09.28, improving her time yet again. Entered with 1:10.52, she dropped nearly a second in prelims to qualify third for finals in 1:09.47 before taking another .19 off her time in the evening.

The bronze medal went to Justine Delmas of CNO St.-Germain-en-Laye with a new National Age Group Record for 15-year-old girls. Delmas, who already owned the 50 and 200 breast records, broke the 100 breast mark in prelims with 1:10.72. That took .02 out of one of the oldest NAGs on the books, a 1971 mark set by Pascale Louvrier of SN Charleville Mézières. In finals, Delmas dropped another .25 to settle the record at 1:10.47. Her twin sister Lucie Delmas finished 7th in the A final with 1:11.49. Both sisters achieved PBs in the event. Justine was seeded with 1:11.01; Lucie, with 1:11.80.

Men’s 200 Freestyle

  • FINA “A” cut: 1:47.40
  • Time to achieve for the world championships: 1:47.11
  • French record: 1:43.14 – Yannick Agnel (Olympic Nice Natation) – 30/07/2012 – London (GBR)


  1. Jordan Pothain, Olympic Nice Natation – 1:47.33
  2. Roman Fuchs, Amiens Métropole Natation – 1:48.63
  3. Mehdi Lagili (TUN), SO Millau Grands Causses Natation – 1:48.65

While no one made the individual qualification that the French Federation set forth in its selection rules (1:47.11 in prelims and a top-2 finish in finals), the final podium of the men’s 200 free was faster than it had been a year ago. Jordan Pothain, now swimming for Nice, won in 1:47.33, or 1.43 seconds faster than his second-place finish in 2018. Last year’s bronze medalist Roman Fuchs of Amiens was runner-up this year in 1:48.63, coming to the wall .02 ahead of Tunisia’s Mehdi Lagili (SO Millau Grands Causses Natation). Pothain took it out very quickly, already half a body length up on the field at the 50 with 24.83. By the 100 wall he was well over a body ahead of second-place Fuchs, 51.40 to 52.84. Pothain maintained his lead over Fuchs to the end, but it was Lagili who had the strongest back half. He made up nearly a full-second deficit over the second 100 meters to finish in 1:48.65, very nearly pulling even with Fuchs. Remi Meresse of Dauphins Toulouse touched out teammate Jonathan Atsu, 1:49.22 to 1:49.48, for the third French place. Logan Fontaine from Vikings de Rouen was just behind them with 1:49.52.

Defending champion Alexandre Derache of Amiens placed 7th in 1:51.42.

The French Federation demanded an add-up time of 7:11.37 from the first four finishers in prelims, so while six of eight swimmers in the A final and two in the B final broke 1:50, France will presumably not field a men’s 4×200 free relay at Worlds.

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 David Aubry, Damien Joly
50 back
Béryl Gastaldello 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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Thomas Selig
3 years ago

Pleased that Gastaldello finally punched her ticket.

Also very happy to see Pothain seemingly finally getting back to some semblance of form after having a really difficult time since Rio. Not impossible he could qualify as part of the 4×100 free relay and thus get a discretionary swim in the 200 free.

Not sure how many more individual qualifiers we’ll see. Stravius in one of his remaining events. Henique in the 50 fly. Cini in the 50 back. Maybe one or two of the 200 back guys (though form doesn’t look great based on the 100). I do expect the remaining free relays to qualify mind.

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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