2019 French Elite Nationals: Day 6 Finals Live Recap

2019 French Elite National Championships – 50M

Day 6: Sunday 21 April 2019

Women’s 800 Freestyle

  • FINA “A” cut: 8:36.56
  • Time to achieve in prelims to qualify for Worlds: 8:31.29
  • French record: 8:18.80 – Laure Manaudou (Canet 66 Nat.) – 31/03/2007 – Melbourne (AUS)


  1. Anna Egorova (RUS, Montpellier Métropole Natation) – 8:34.09
  2. Lara Grangeon (CN Calédoniens) – 8:39.44
  3. Aurélie Muller (CN Sarreguemines) – 8:43.84
  4. Oceane Cassignol (Montpellier Métropole Natation) – 8:46.02

It was an all-Philippe Lucas podium in the 800 free final, led by Russian Anna Egorova, who touched in 8:34.09, an improvement of 2.3 seconds from her seed time. The national title in the event went to Lara Grangeon (CN Calédoniens). She touched in 8:39.44, which is 3.5 seconds better than her entry time. Grangeon, who is focused almost entirely on open water swimming now that she trains in Montpellier, held fast with Egorova through the first half of the race, but fell off when Egorova began her descent at the 450. Last year, Grangeon won the French bronze medal, finishing 4th overall with 8:49.61.

Aurélie Muller (CN Sarreguemines), another open water specialist, finished third for the French silver medal, going 8:43.84. Oceane Cassignol (Montpellier Métropole) was fourth in 8:46.02 and picked up the French bronze.

Men’s 50 Freestyle

  • FINA “A” cut: 22.18
  • Time to achieve in prelims to qualify for Worlds: 22.05
  • French record: 20.94 – Frédérick Bousquet (CN Marseille) – 26/04/2009 – Montpellier


  1. Clément Mignon (CN Marseille) – 21.93
  2. Oussama Sahnoune (ALG, CN Marseille) – 21.96
  3. Maxime Grousset (Amiens Métropole Nat.) – 22.21
  4. Yonel Govindin (CN Marseille) – 22.27

In the same way Montpellier rules the distance freestyle podia in France, Marseille dominates in sprint free. Clément Mignon won championship final of the men’s 50 free by .03 over training partner Oussama Sahnoune of Algeria. Mignon missed the French qualifying standard by .01 in prelims but cleared the FINA “A” cut twice and should be able to add the 50 free as a complementary event to his 100 free in Gwangju.

Maxime Grousset of Amiens edged Yonel Govindin of Marseille by .07, 22.21 to 22.27, for third. They took home the French silver and bronze, respectively.

The same four sprinters occupied the podium a year ago, too, although the order was Govindin (22.13), Grousset (22.14), Sahnoune (22.30), Mignon (22.72).

Women’s 50 Butterfly

  • FINA “A” cut: 26.34
  • Time to achieve in prelims to qualify for Worlds: 25.82
  • French record: 25.63 – Mélanie Henique (CN Marseille) – 28/07/2017 – Budapest ( HUN) / 06/04/2018 – Marseille


  1. Marie Wattel (Montpellier Métropole Natation) – 25.90
  2. Béryl Gastaldello (CN Marseille) – 26.05
  3. Mélanie Henique (CN Marseille) – 26.18

Marie Wattel, who swims for Montpellier but lives and trains at Loughborough University, won the 50 fly with her first sub-26 ever. Her entry time of 26.16 was a PB from her silver-medal finish at this meet in 2018.

Béryl Gastaldello, who edged Wattel in the 100 fly final, led a trio of Marseille women to a 2-3-4 finish. Her 26.05 was her 5th-best lifetime performance. Although entered with a seed time of 26.90, Gastaldello has been as fast as 25.79 at 2017 World Championships and 25.92 at 2015 French Nationals.

French record-holder and defending champion Melanie Henique touched third in 26.18. She won with 25.71 a year ago.

Although no one qualified out of prelims to swim this event at Worlds, both Wattel and Gastaldello, already on the team in other events, made the FINA “A” cut and could presumably add the 50 fly to their program. However, the French rules stipulate that athletes can only have one complementary event, and it’s up to the National Technical Director to decide what’s best for the team. So we’ll see.

Men’s 100 Butterfly

  • FINA “A” cut: 51.96
  • Time to achieve in prelims to qualify for Worlds: 51.81
  • French record: 51.06 – Mehdy Metella (CN Marseille) – 28/07/2017 – Budapest (HUN)


  1. Mehdy Metella (CN Marseille) – 50.85
  2. Jérémy Stravius (Amiens Métropole Nat.) – 52.05
  3. Jeremy Desplanches (SUI, Olympic Nice Natation) – 52.28
  4. Nans Roch (CN Antibes) – 52.87

Marseille’s Medhy Metella lowered his own French National Record by .19 to post the fastest time in the world, and the only performance under 51 seconds, for the current season.

2018-2019 LCM MEN 100 FLY

49.50 *WR
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Metella was 1.07 seconds faster than he’d been when he won this event a year ago. It puts him within 1.03 of Michael Phelps’ 2009 World Record of 49.82.

Metella was the only French swimmer to hit the qualifying standard of 51.81 in prelims, although he had already made the Worlds team in this event by virtue of his podium finish at last summer’s European Championships. Jérémy Stravius, however, missed the cut by .19, going 52.00 in prelims. Stravius finished second in the final with 52.05, achieving a FINA “B” cut. Because Metella was already qualified, Stravius would have needed an “A” cut to add the 100 fly as a complementary event in Gwangju. Entered with a seed time of 52.54, Stravius’ lifetime best is 51.66.

Stravius’s training partner in Nice, Switzerland’s Jeremy Desplanches, came in third with 52.28. That’s nearly a second faster than his PB of 53.14, recently achieved at Courbevoie in February. The French bronze medal went to Nans Roch, who also finished third last year. This time he touched in 52.87, half a second faster than his seed time (a PB of 53.26 from last year’s final) and .14 better than his prelims time of 53.01.

Women’s 200 Backstroke

  • FINA “A” cut: 2:11.53
  • Time to achieve in prelims to qualify for Worlds: 2:10.19
  • French record: 2:06.64 – Laure Manaudou (Mulhouse ON) – 26/04/2008 – Dunkerque

Women’s 200 Backstroke

  • FINA “A” cut: 2:11.53
  • Time to achieve in prelims to qualify for Worlds: 2:10.19
  • French record: 2:06.64 – Laure Manaudou (Mulhouse ON) – 26/04/2008 – Dunkerque


  1. Pauline Mahieu (Canet 66 Natation) – 2:14.15
  2. Lilou Ressencourt (Olympic Nice Natation) – 2:14.86
  3. Lila Touili (CN Marseille) – 2:16.36

There were three new faces on the podium of the 200 backstroke this year. None of the top three had medaled a year ago. Marseille’s Lila Touili led at the 50 wall, the only swimmer to turn in under 31 seconds (30.83). Canet 66’s Pauline Mahieu, Nice’s Lilou Ressencourt, and Mulhouse’s Louise Lefebvre turned together at between 31.3-31.4. Things began to shake out over the second 50 when Mahieu took over the lead. Mahieu controlled the rest of the race, while Ressencourt had the strongest second half among the next three finishers and secured second place with 2:14.86 to Mahieu’s 2:14.15. Mahieu was entered with 2:15.36 (although her best time is 2:12.31), while Ressencourt came into the meet with a PB of 2:16.11.

Marseille’s Touili finished third in 2:16.36, taking .20 off her previous PB of 2:16.56. Lefebvre, last year’s bronze medalist, finished just off the podium with 2:16.92.

Men’s 400 Freestyle

  • FINA “A” cut: 3:48.15
  • Time to achieve in prelims to qualify for Worlds: 3:47.05
  • French record: 3:43.85 – Yannick Agnel (Olympic Nice Natation) – 23/03/2011 – Strasbourg


  1. David Aubry (Montpellier Métropole Natation) – 3:47.06
  2. Joris Bouchaut (Stade de Vanves) – 3:49.23
  3. Mehdi Lagili (TUN, SO Millau Grands Causses Natation) – 3:50.27
  4. Damien Joly (Montpellier Métropole Natation) – 3:51.99

Defending champion David Aubry won the 400 free on Sunday to complete his sweep of the men’s distance freestyle events in Rennes. Aubry also won the 1500 free on Wednesday (14:57.56) and the 800 free on Friday (7:46.30, a new French National Record). His time in the 400, 3:47.06, was 1.75 seconds faster than what he’d gone to win the event last year.

Joris Bouchaut (Stade de Vanves), 3rd in the 800 free, 5th in the 1500, and 9th in the 200 free this week, was runner-up with 3:49.23. It was his first sub-3:50 and a PB by 1.42 seconds. Bouchaut was seeded 9th in the 400 with a time of 3:52.24, although his previous PB was 3:50.65 from 2017 French Elite Nationals.

Tunisia’s Mehdi Lagili (SO Millau Grands Causses Natation) touched third with 3:50.27, a PB by 1.15 seconds. Aubry’s training partner Damien Joly earned the French bronze medal with a fourth-place finish of 3:51.99.

Women’s 200 IM

  • FINA “A” cut: 2:13.03
  • Time to achieve in prelims to qualify for Worlds: 2:12.58
  • French record: 2:09.37 – Camille Muffat (Olympic Nice Natation) – 26/04/2009 – Montpellier


  1. Fantine Lesaffre (Stade de Vanves) – 2:11.70
  2. Cyrielle Duhamel (Stade Béthune Pélican Club) – 2:14.12
  3. Camille Dauba (CN Sarreguemines) – 2:15.37

It was déjà vu all over again in the women’s 200 IM final, as Fantine Lesaffre, Cyrielle Duhamel, and Camille Dauba stood on the same steps as they had last year.

Defending champion Lesaffre (Stade de Vanves) completed her sweep of the individual medleys with a 2:11.70 win in the 200. Entered with a 2:11.71, she beat her previous PB by .01 to win in 2:11.70. She was just over half a second faster than her winning time from 2018 (2:12.52).

Duhamel (Stade Béthune Pélican Club) finished second in 2:14.12. She was 1.5 seconds off her best time, achieved in last year’s final (2:12.68). Dauba, on the other hand, was nearly 3 seconds faster than she’d been in 2018, going 2:15.37 (versus 2:18.25). Dauba was entered with 2:15.36, the PB she swam at Courbevoie in February.

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




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3 years ago

Metella 50.85!! Wow, can’t wait to watch this years 100 fly final ! As much as I like Phelps, would love to see someone under the 49.8 barrier.

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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