2019 French Elite Nationals: Day 4 Finals Live Recap


2019 French Elite National Championships– 50M

Day 4: Friday 19 April 2019

Women’s 50 Backstroke

  • FINA “A” cut: 28.22
  • Time to achieve in prelims to qualify for Worlds: 27.81
  • French record: 27.86 – Béryl Gastaldello (CN Marseille) – 04/08/2018 – Glasgow (GBR)


  1. Béryl Gastaldello (CN Marseille) – 27.98
  2. Lila Touili (CN Marseille) – 28.37
  3. Mathilde Cini (Valence Triathlon) – 28.64

Marseille’s Béryl Gastaldello, who broke the Championship Record in prelims with 27.88 but failed to qualify for 2019 World Championships by .07, won the women’s 50 backstroke in 27.98, just 1/100 off her winning time from 2018. Gastaldello made the French roster for Gwangju in the 100 back on Wednesday and now has two opportunities for a complementary event, the 100 fly and the 50 back. That decision will be made by the National Technical Director at the end of the meet.

Lila Touili, who also swims for Marseille, went 28.37 to claim the silver medal ahead of Valence’s Mathilde Cini (28.64), who was runner-up a year ago with 28.29.

Men’s 100 Freestyle

  • FINA “A” cut: 48.80
  • Time to achieve in prelims to qualify for Worlds: 48.73
  • French record: 46.94 – Alain Bernard (CN Antibes) – 23/04/2009 – Montpellier


  1. Mehdy Metella (CN Marseille) – 48.27
  2. Clément Mignon (CN Marseille) – 48.54
  3. Oussama Sahnoune (ALG, CN Marseille) – 48.73
  4. Jérémy Stravius (Amiens Métropole) – 48.79

In the much-anticipated men’s 100 free, Marseille swept the podium with Mehdy Metella (48.27), Clément Mignon (48.54), and Algeria’s Oussama Sahnoune (48.73). Jérémy Stravius was the third Frenchman to the wall and earns the French bronze with 48.79.

Because Metella had already qualified for Worlds by virtue of his medal at 2018 European Championships in this event, there was only one individual spot up for grabs. Three swimmers satisfied the first half of the qualifying criteria in prelims, that is, they swam 48.73 or faster. Mignon qualified first with 48.49. (Sahnoune was second out of heats with 48.51 but is not eligible for the French team, as he is Algerian.) Metella was second with 48.58, while Nice’s Tom Paco Pedroni was third with 48.72. Stravius went 48.83 in prelims, touching 5th overall. This meant that in finals, either Paco Pedroni or Mignon needed to finish among the top two to qualify for the individual event. By coming in second to Metella in the final, Mignon earned his spot on the roster.

France did, however, qualify a 4×100 free relay so Mignon, Metella, Paco Pedroni, Stravius, and Maxime Grousset should all be on the plane to Gwangju.

Metella’s 48.27 ranks 11th in the world so far this season.

2018-2019 LCM MEN 100 FREE

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Women’s 200 Butterfly

  • FINA “A” cut: 2:09.21
  • Time to achieve in prelims to qualify for Worlds: 2:09.13
  • French record: 2:05.09 – Aurore Mongel (Mulhouse ON) – 29/07/2009 – Rome (ITA)


  1. Lara Grangeon (CN Calédoniens) – 2:09.50
  2. Camille Cottiers (AC Hyères) – 2:14.70
  3. Gwladys Larzul (Dauphins Toulouse) – 2:14.88

Defending champion Lara Grangeon won the 200 fly in 2:09.50, a full 3.03 seconds faster than she had been at the 2018 French National Championships. She did not qualify for this event, however, having swum a 2:12.50 in prelims. Grangeon’s best 200 fly time is 2:07.87, from the 2016 French Nationals and Olympic Trials. She entered this meet with a seed time of 2:11.83.

Several body lengths behind her, Camille Cottiers of Hyères and Gwladys Larzul of Toulouse were battling it out for second place. Larzul led for the first two legs of the race, and was faster in freestyle as well, but Cottiers outsplit her by 1 second on the breaststroke and that made all the difference. Cottiers was able to hold onto her lead over the final 50 and claim the silver medal with 2:14.70 to Larzul’s 2:14.88.

Men’s 200 IM

  • FINA “A” cut: 2:00.22
  • Time to achieve in prelims to qualify for Worlds: 1:59.65
  • French record: 1:57.89 – Jérémy Stravius (Amiens Métropole Natation) – 11/04/2013 – Rennes


  1. Jeremy Desplanches (SUI, Olympic Nice Natation) – 1:56.89
  2. Samy Helmbacher (Dauphins Obernai) – 2:00.38
  3. Clément Bidard (Mulhouse ON) – 2:00.90
  4. Léon Marchand (Dauphins Toulouse) – 2:01.22

2018 champion Jeremy Desplanches of Switzerland broke the Championship Record in the final of the 200 IM with 1:56.89, just .03 off his own National Record in the event which he set at 2017 World Championships in Budapest. Samy Helmbacher of Dauphins Obernai came in second and was named National Champion, with a huge PB of 2:00.38, an improvement of 2.61 seconds from his entry time (2:02.89). Mulhouse’s Clément Bidard snatched the French silver (3rd place overall) away from Toulouse’s Léon Marchand, coming home .57 faster to edge the 17-year-old, 2:00.90 to 2:01.22. Marchand did walk away with a new National Age Group Record in the event, though, having first broken it in prelims with 2:01.80.

Women’s 400 IM

  • FINA “A” cut: 4:43.06
  • Time to achieve in prelims to qualify for Worlds: 4:39.59
  • French record: 4:34.17 – Fantine Lesaffre (Montpellier Métropole Natation) – 03/08/2018 – Glasgow (GBR)


  1. Fantine Lesaffre (Stade de Vanves) – 4:37.74
  2. Lara Grangeon (CN Calédoniens) – 4:41.21
  3. Cyrielle Duhamel (Stade Béthune Pélican Club) – 4:46.11

The 2019 podium in the women’s 400 IM was nearly identical to the 2018 podium; only the order shifted. Fantine Lesaffre of Vanves retained her spot atop the podium, winning in a Championship Record time of 4:37.74. Last year she earned gold with 4:38.98 then went on to win the event at 2018 European Championships with 4:34.17, setting a new French National Record and punching an automatic ticket to 2019 World Championships for Team France.

27 minutes after her victory in the 200 fly, Grangeon was back on the starting block for the 400 IM final. She swam a strong race, finishing second with 4:41.21, nearly 3 seconds faster than her third-place performance from 2018. Cyrielle Duhamel, runner-up a year ago, took third in 4:46.11

No one qualified for the second available spot in this event, as Duhamel went 4:45.86 and Grangeon 4:53.53, in prelims.

Qualified for Gwangju:

Women Event Men
50 free
Charlotte Bonnet 100 free Mehdy Metella, Clément Mignon
Charlotte Bonnet 200 free
400 free
800 free
1500 free David Aubry, Damien Joly
50 back Jérémy Stravius
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
4×100 free Clément Mignon, Mehdy Metella, Tom Paco Pedroni, Jérémy Stravius, Maxime Grousset
4×200 free
4×100 medley
4×100 free mixed
4×100 medley


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3 years ago

I guess the 100free wasn’t that bad. The French tend to swim much faster at the championships, and the leading time is generally not sub48 at the championships

Good swim by Desplanche

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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