2019 French Elite Nationals: Day 5 Finals Live Recap

2019 French Elite National Championships– 50M

Day 5: Saturday 20 April 2019

Men’s 800 Freestyle

  • FINA “A” cut: 7:54.31
  • Time to achieve in prelims to qualify for Worlds: 7:51.06
  • French record: 7:48.28 – Sébastien Rouault (Mulhouse ON) – 13/08/2010 – Budapest (HUN)


  1. David Aubry (Montpellier Métropole Natation) – 7:46.30
  2. Marc-Antoine Olivier (Denain Nat. Porte du Hainaut) – 7:53.12
  3. Joris Bouchaut (Stade de Vanves) – 7:54.19

David Aubry, who also won the 1500 free, took down the long-standing French National Record in the men’s 800 freestyle to open Saturday night’s finals session. Aubry went 7:46.30, taking nearly 2 full seconds off the 2010 mark set by Sébastien Rouault (Mulhouse) at the 2010 European Championships in Budapest, Hungary. Aubry was entered with 7:50.09, which is the time he went to win this event at last year’s French Nationals.

Second place went to Marc-Antoine Olivier, better known as one of France’s top open water specialists. He and Aubry train together in the Philippe Lucas group in Montpellier, although Olivier represents Denain Natation Porte du Hainaut in competition. Olivier was entered with a seed time of 7:57.73 and went 7:53.12 for the silver medal. Joris Bouchaut took third with 7:54.19. He was bronze medalist a year ago, too, but with 8:01.61. Fourth place went to Damien Joly (Montpellier), with 7:54.89. He was runner-up in 2018 with 7:57.83.

Women’s 100 Freestyle

  • FINA “A” cut: 54.49
  • Time to achieve in prelims to qualify for Worlds: 54.32
  • French record: 52.74 – Charlotte Bonnet (Olympic Nice Nat.) – 26/05/2018 – Saint-Raphaël


  1. Charlotte Bonnet (Olympic Nice Natation) – 53.29
  2. Béryl Gastaldello (CN Marseille) – 53.84
  3. Marie Wattel (Montpellier Métropole Natation) – 54.29

In what was once the purview of French men’s swimming, the women have shown themselves to be masters of the 100 free. Not only will Team France have two individual contenders in the 100 free at 2019 World Championships in Gwangju, but there’s considerable depth in the event: the top 6 finalists on Saturday night all broke the 55-second barrier. Last year that number was 4.

Nice’s Charlotte Bonnet, the defending champion, national record-holder, and top seed – already prequalified for 2019 World Championships in the 100 free and 200 free – won with 53.29. Last year she broke the French National Record with her winning time of 52.74. Coming to the wall second this time was Béryl Gastaldello of Marseille and Texas A&M. Gastaldello and Marie Wattel (Montpellier and Loughborough) had both satisfied the first half of the qualifying criteria for Worlds by breaking or equaling 54.32 in prelims. Wattel qualified second for the final with 54.30 while Gastaldello hit 54.32 in prelims for 3rd. In the final however, Gastaldello unleashed a 53.84, her best time by .14 to punch her ticket to Gwangju.

Men’s 200 Backstroke

  • FINA “A” cut: 1:58.34
  • Time to achieve in prelims to qualify for Worlds: 1:58.00
  • French record: 1:56.39 – Benjamin Stasiulis (Amiens Métropole Nat.) – 23/03/2012 – Dunkerque


  1. Geoffroy Mathieu (Stade Clermont Natation) – 1:58.86
  2. Antoine Herlem (Dauphins Toulouse) – 2:00.62
  3. Christophe Brun (CN Antibes) – 2:00.66

Clermont’s Geoffroy Mathieu successfully defended his national title in the 200 backstroke, going 1:58.86, or .02 slower than he went a year ago. Mathieu finished with nearly two body lengths of a lead over the next wave of four swimmers who came to the wall together. It was almost a photo finish for #2 through #5 who were separated by only .27. 19-year-old Antoine Herlem of Dauphins Toulouse made his first national podium in the event when he touched second in 2:00.62. He came into the meet seeded 11th with 2:03.41. Christophe Brun of Antibes improved his seed time by .22 with his third-place finish of 2:00.66.

Left off the podium were 17-year-old Mewen Tomac of Amiens (2:00.71) and Maxence Orange of Nantes (2:00.89), last year’s runner-up (with 1:58.96).

Women’s 200 Breaststroke

  • FINA “A” cut: 2:25.91
  • Time to achieve in prelims to qualify for Worlds: 2:25.41
  • French record: 2:25.19 – Sophie de Ronchi (ES Massy Natation) – 24/04/2009 – Montpellier


  1. Fanny Deberghes (ASPTT Montpellier) – 2:25.60
  2. Camille Dauba (CN Sarreguemines) – 2:25.69
  3. Fantine Lesaffre (Stade de Vanves) – 2:26.48

By far the most exciting race of the night was the championship final of the women’s 200 breast. The entire podium went faster than last year’s winning time, Fantine Lesaffre’s 2:26.76.

Fanny Deberghes of ASPTT Montpellier got the win with a huge PB, dropping 1.49 second for 2:25.60. Camille Dauba of CN Sarreguemines was only .09 behind the leader, taking even more time off her previous best (2:27.91). It was a wire-to-wire victory for Deberghes, but Dauba outsplit her by 4/10 over the final 50 meters and nearly got the win herself.

Defending champion Lesaffre (Montpellier Métropole Natation) came in third with 2:26.48, nearly 3/10 faster than what she won with a year ago. Although entered in the heats of 800 free this morning, she was a DNS and concentrated solely on the breaststroke.

Men’s 200 Breaststroke

  • FINA “A” cut: 2:11.00
  • Time to achieve in prelims to qualify for Worlds: 2:10.41
  • French record: 2:08.94 Hugues Duboscq (CN Le Havre) – 14/08/2008 – Beijing (CHN)


  1. Antoine Marc (Mulhouse ON) – 2:12.08
  2. Jeremy Desplanches (SUI, Olympic Nice Natation) – 2:12.45
  3. Antoine Viquerat (Dauphins Toulouse) – 2:12.52
  4. Thibaut Capitaine (Cergy Pontoise Natation) – 2:12.72

Not to be outdone by the women, the men put on an exciting 200 breast final of their own. Mulhouse’s Antoine Marc snatched the victory, leading the top four finishers into the wall with sub-2:13s. Third in last year’s final, Marc improved his PB by 1.85 seconds to go 2:12.08 for the win. His previous best came from his third-place finish in 2018, 2:13.93. Marc took it out 2 seconds faster over the first half of the race, with 1:03.21 vs 1:05.25 a year ago. He was able to hold on and finish with 1:08.87, just a touch off the second-half 1:08.68 he swam in 2018.

Defending champion Jeremy Desplanches (Switzerland, Olympic Nice), was .15 off his winning time from 2018, touching in 2:12.45 for second place. Desplanches touched out Antoine Viquerat of Toulouse, who had a .04 lead edge at the 150 wall. Viquerat was fourth in 2018 with 2:14.03. Thibaut Capitaine came to the wall .20 after Viquerat. Capitaine outsplit Viquerat by nearly half a second over the final 50 but it wasn’t enough to earn the French silver medal.

Qualified for Gwangju:

Women Event Men
50 free
Charlotte Bonnet, Béryl Gastaldello 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 mixed


In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

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 …

Read More »