2023 French Championships: Day 1 Finals Live Recap

2023 FRENCH ELITE CHAMPIONSHIPS

The first night of the 2023 French Elite Championships has arrived in Rennes on Sunday, with six finals sessions on the schedule: the women’s 200 IM, men’s 400 freestyle, women’s 100 butterfly, men’s 50 butterfly, women’s 400 freestyle, and men’s 200 breaststroke.

Leon Marchand will wrap up the evening by taking a crack at his French record in the 200 breast. During prelims this morning, the 21-year-old Arizona State star clocked a 2:09.88 to lead the heats, ranking as the third-fastest outing of his career behind his national-record 2:08.76 and 2:09.24 from last year. It’s the first of six events that Marchand is contesting this week.

But first, we’ll see a fun battle in the men’s 50 fly between Maxime Grousset (23.48) and Olympic champion Florent Manaudou (23.69). Newly-minted French representative Anastasia Kirpichnikova led the women’s 400 free heats with a 4:10.05 as she aims to compete for France in both pool and open water events in Fukuoka next month. In the women’s 100 fly, French record holder Marie Wattel was the only prelims swimmer sub-59 seconds at 58.47, just .14 seconds off the Worlds ‘A’ cut of 58.33.

Stay tuned for live updates below:

Women’s 200 IM – Final

  • French Record: 2:09.37, Camille Muffat (2009)
  • World Championships ‘A’ Cut: 2:12.98
  • France’s Qualifying Time for Fukuoka: 2:12.13

Top 8:

  1. Charlotte Bonnet – 2:10.64
  2. Fantine Lesaffre – 2:11.59
  3. Cyrielle Duhamel – 2:11.78
  4. Camille Tissandie – 2:16.01
  5. Giulia Rossi-Bene – 2:16.58
  6. Anastasia Urbaniak – 2:16.68
  7. Aela Janvier – 2:17.28
  8. Claire Bourse – 2:17.61

28-year-old Olympic medalist Charlotte Bonnet dropped more than five seconds off her prelims time to win the women’s 200 IM in a personal-best 2:10.64. She shaved over a second off her previous-best 2:12.14 from way back in 2015.

Just last month, Bonnet had only been 2:16.19 at the Mare Nostrum stop in Barcelona. Her 2:15.70 from prelims seeded her third for the final behind Fantine Lesaffre and Cyrielle Duhamel, who took second and third place, respectively, behind Bonnet in the final. Both Lesaffre (2:11.59) and Duhamel (2:11.78) also touched more than a second under the Worlds qualifying standard.

Men’s 400 Freestyle – Final

  • French Record: 3:43.85, Yannick Agnel (2011)
  • World Championships ‘A’ Cut: 3:48.15
  • France’s Qualifying Time for Fukuoka: 3:47.91

Top 8:

  1. Logan Fontaine – 3:46.60
  2. Joris Bouchaut – 3:48.02
  3. David Aubry – 3:48.22
  4. Marc-Antoine Olivier – 3:49.10
  5. Sacha Velly – 3:49.58
  6. Tommy-Lee Camblong – 3:50.59
  7. Pacome Bricout – 3:53.29
  8. Paul Beaugrand – 3:55.30

24-year-old Logan Fontaine clocked a personal-best 3:46.60 to beat top-seeded Joris Bouchaut (3:48.02) by more than a second. Fontaine dropped more than two seconds off his previous-best 3:48.75 from the 2021 French Championships. He’s been on a hot streak recently in both pool and open water events, having posted a third-place showing at the Open Water World Cup stop in Egypt last month.

Bouchaut shaved less than a second off his top-seeded prelims time (3:48.74), coming up short of his personal-best 3:47.20 from last year’s European Championships. Last week, fourth-place finisher Marc-Antoine Olivier (3:49.10) was suspended from the French National Team for a few months, but he’s still allowed to compete for his club team in the meantime.

Women’s 100 Butterfly – Final

  • French Record: 56.14, Marie Wattel (2022)
  • World Championships ‘A’ Cut: 58.33
  • France’s Qualifying Time for Fukuoka: 58.21

Top 8:

  1. Marie Wattel – 57.34
  2. Lilou Ressencourt – 58.90
  3. Lili-Rose Berthelot – 59.04
  4. Lucie Delmas – 59.76
  5. Tabatha Avetand – 1:00.65
  6. Manon Mure – 1:01.24
  7. Juliette Marchand – 1:01.25
  8. Emma Morel – 1:01.64

French record holder Marie Wattel cruised to the 100 fly win in 57.34, the only swimmer under the Worlds qualifying mark. The 26-year-old Wattel was just off that standard in prelims with a top-seeded time of 58.47.

Runner-up finisher Lilou Ressencourt dipped under 59 seconds for the first time, firing off a personal-best 58.90 to take a few tenths off her previous best from 2021.

Men’s 50 Butterfly – Final

  • French Record: 22.84, Frederick Bousquet and Florent Manaudou (2009 and 2015)
  • World Championships ‘A’ Cut: 23.53
  • France’s Qualifying Time for Fukuoka: 23.04

Top 8:

  1. Maxime Grousset – 23.06
  2. Florent Manaudou – 23.44
  3. Thomas Piron – 23.63
  4. Nikita Baez – 23.68
  5. Stanislas Huille – 23.74
  6. Serguei Comte – 23.76
  7. Danylo Matokhniuk – 23.89
  8. Louis Briesch – 23.90

Maxime Grousset triumphed in the men’s 50 fly final with a 23.06, even faster than he was at last year’s World Championships, where he placed ninth in 23.10. The 24-year-old’s new season best ranks ninth in the world this season while his lifetime best remains at 23.90 from last year’s European Championships.

32-year-old Florent Manaudou was a few tenths behind Grousset in 23.44, just a couple tenths off his 23.23 from Worlds last year, which placed 12th. Manaudou owns a share of the national record with a 22.84 from 2015.

Women’s 400 Freestyle – Final

  • French Record: 4:01.13, Camille Muffat (2012)
  • World Championships ‘A’ Cut: 4:10.57
  • France’s Qualifying Time for Fukuoka: 4:09.14

Top 8:

  1. Anna Egorova – 4:07.51
  2. Anastasia Kirpichnikova – 4:08.70
  3. Cyrielle Duhamel – 4:09.74
  4. Lucile Tessariol – 4:10.36
  5. Valentine Leclercq – 4:16.51
  6. Lisa Pou – 4:17.60
  7. Lean Cabon – 4:17.66
  8. Alexa Reyna – 4:19.76

25-year-old Russian Anna Egorova won the 400 free in 4:07.51, but it was Anastasia Kirpichnikova who made history with her runner-up finish in 4:08.70, becoming the first French swimmer in seven years to qualify for Worlds in this event. The Russian-born Kirpichnikova was cleared to represent France on the international stage last week after already qualifying for both the 5km and 10km open water events at Worlds next month. She was a couple seconds off her best time (4:06.26) from the 2021 Russian Championships.

Egorova was a few seconds off her personal-best 4:04.10 from 2021, which still stands as the Russian national record today. Arizona State commit Alexa Reyna placed eighth in the A-final with a 4:19.76, about four seconds off her lifetime best from last year’s European Junior Championships.

Men’s 200 Breaststroke – Final

  • French Record: 2:08.76, Leon Marchand (2022)
  • World Championships ‘A’ Cut: 2:10.32
  • France’s Qualifying Time for Fukuoka: 2:10.32

Top 8:

  1. Leon Marchand – 2:06.59
  2. Antoine Marc – 2:09.68
  3. Lucien Vergnes – 2:11.19
  4. Antoine Viquerat – 2:11.23
  5. Clement Bidard – 2:12.17
  6. Jeremy Desplanches – 2:14.39
  7. Carl Aitkaci – 2:14.43
  8. Melaine Laine – 2:14.47

Leon Marchand capped off the first finals session of the 2023 French Championships with fireworks, demolishing his own national record from last summer by more than two seconds with a 2:06.59. That’s the top time in the world so far this season by nearly a second ahead of Russia’s Kirill Prigoda (2:07.47). It also would have won gold at the 2022 World Championships.

Only seven men in history have broken the 2:07 barrier in the 200 breast. Marchand now ranks fourth in the all-time rankings behind only Japan’s Shoma Sato (2:06.40), Russia’s Anton Chupkov (2:06.12), and Australia’s Zac Stubblety-Cook (2:05.95). He’s also the second-fastest European ever in the event.

Marchand is now just .64 seconds away from Stubblety-Cook’s world record from last year, but he said he won’t contest the 200 breast at the 2023 World Championships next month in Fukuoka, Japan.

He did not swim the 200 breast at the 2022 World Championships, opting to race the 200 fly, 200 IM, and 400 IM instead. At Worlds, the semifinals of the men’s 200 breast conflicts with the final of the 200 IM.

Marchand won this race by more than three seconds ahead of Antoine Marc, who was the only other swimmer in the field sub-2:10 with a 2:09.68.

You can read more about Marchand’s record-breaking swim here.

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jim
8 months ago

Already into monday, Marchand, in an event that’s probably his 7th or 8th best, goes 1:46 mid to win the french national meet….unreal.

ddd
8 months ago

A time of 23.04 seems to bode very well for Grousett. I think I will be close to my personal best in the 100m freestyle.

David
8 months ago

Why should there be 200m semis in the first place? 200m race is already so grueling so spare swimmers a thought, especially those who are world beaters and have many events they are good at. My wish is to have a timed prelims and 8 fastest go through to finals, like 400m onwards. To see him skip 200m breast due to scheduling issues is preventing swim fans from witnessing a race for the ages.

Chlorinetherapy
8 months ago

Are only finals live streamed? Couldn’t find prelims streaming, only live results.

Chris
8 months ago

I think he’s good enough to beat Milak in the 2 fly. Will it be hard? Yes. But he sure is capable. This is going to be an exciting meet. He and Summer have no boundaries.

Summer is Titmus’ Sleep Paralysis Demon
8 months ago

Zac Stubblety Cooked

Chris

daggers!

Summer is Titmus’ Sleep Paralysis Demon
8 months ago

Ughhhhh so close.

Mike
8 months ago

I honestly expected a 2:08 flat or maybe 2:07.7 this is insane, that 4 IM WR is going to be gone at the end of this championships

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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