Born April 22, 1985 in Nabornne, France Camille Lacourt is an elite backstroke specialist. Standing 6’7″, Lacourt’s height is beneficial to his sprint backstroke events, and he’s been in the spotlight from a young age. Lacourt began swimming at the age of 5, but the time he turned 16, Lacourt was moving up the ranks in French swimming.
Lacourt has been married to Valérie Bègue, former Miss France in 2008, since August 2008. The couple has a daughter together, Jazz, who was born in October 2012.
Lacourt competed in his first Junior European Championships in 2003, already singling out his speciality, the sprint backstroke events. By the time that he was 18 years old, Lacourt qualified for his first senior national championships, and managed to sneak into a semi-final. In 2005 Lacourt won his first two national titles in France in the 100 and 200-meter backstrokes, and he set records becoming a hopeful face for France’s future.
In 2006 Lacourt decided it was time for a coaching change — he switched to train with the likes of Philippe Lucas, who also coached Laurent Manaudou. Lacourt immediately saw a higher training regimen, and was more tired, but nonetheless the work was paying off. The following year in 2007 Lacourt competed at the French National Championships. He won his first two national long course titles, and broke his first National Record in the 50-meter backstroke.
His finish at the 2007 French Nationals earned him a roster spot on France’s European Championship Team. And although it seemed like his career was on the rise, Lacourt had to waive his participation in the 2008 Beijing Olympics due to injuries. After a year of recuperation, Lacourt returned to competition at the 2009 World Championship in Rome, where he picked up a silver medal in the 50-meter backstroke.
Although Lacourt had been riding the rankings up through the year 2009, 2010 ended up being his breakout season. At the European Championships he grabbed three gold medals in the 50 and 100-meter backstrokes, in addition to the 4×100-meter medley relay.
In both the backstroke events, Lacourt did some serious damage on the world rankings. In the 50-meter distance, he finished first, but also posted the world’s second-fastest time in history. In the 100-meter back, Lacourt broke the European Record and again posted the second-fastest time in the history of the event just behind American, Aaron Piersol. He was selected as the European Swimmer of the Year 2010.
2012 London Olympics
After his breakout season in 2010, Lacourt’s career took off. He competed at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, winning a gold and silver. Lacourt was selected to France’s Olympic Team in 2012, and finished fourth in the 100-meter back just missing the podium. The following year Lacourt took two gold medals at the Barcelona World Championships, but missed the 2014 European Championships due to a hip injury.
2015 World Championships
At the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Lacourt was France’s top backstroker. He travelled to Russia to swim his signature sprint backstroke events, and took gold in the 50-meter distance, beating silver medalist Matt Grevers by almost half a second. In the 100-meter distance, this time Lacourt was touched out to grab a silver medal. In an extremely tight race, Lacourt was in third at the 50, and passed Grevers for silver. He was just behind the winner, Australia’s Mitchell Larkin, by .08 seconds. He then joined up with his relay team to win a bronze medal in the 4×100-meter medley relay.
2016 Rio Olympics
Lacourt missed out on the medals again at his second Olympics finishing 5th in the 100 meter backstroke final in 52.70. He was also a member of the French 400 medley relay, but the team failed to make the final after finishing 10th in the heats.
2017 World Championships
Lacourt defended his 50 meter backstroke title in Budapest, but it was a tighter race than two years previous. He touched in 24.35 ahead of Japan’s Junya Koga and USA’s Matt Grevers.