Marc-Antoine Olivier is a French open-water Olympian. He has Olympic, World, and European medals.
2016 U.S. Open Water Nationals (Miromar Lakes, Florida)
After a series of finishes just off the podium through early 2016, Olivier won the men’s 5k at U.S. Open Water Nationals. It was a four-man race at the finish, with Olivier and Trojan Swim Club’s Ous Mellouli pulling just ahead at the end. Olivier touched at 57:24.104, just ahead of Mellouli’s 57:24.246. Olivier also placed 5th in the men’s 10k
2016 European Open Water Championships
In the 10k, Oliver was able to claim bronze behind Ferry Weertman (1:55:20.6) and Jack Burnell (1:55:21.2). His time was 1:55:21.6.
2016 Olympic Games (Rio De Janeiro)
Olivier was pre-qualified from his placement at 2015 Worlds for the 2016 Olympic Games. In the men’s 10k he claimed bronze in a highly controversial finish. When the results came out, Weertman and Spiros Gianniotis of Greece were given the same time: 1:52:59.8, but the photos showed Weertman touched 1st. Olivier and Zu Lijun of China were also given the same time in 3rd, at 1:53:02.0. They were both placed 3rd on the results for a while, but once analyzed, the photos revealed Olivier touched 3rd giving him the bronze. Zu finished 4th. Jack Burnell of Great Britain, who was right in the battle and appeared to touch around the same time as Olivier and Zu, was disqualified.
2017 French Elite Long Course Nationals (Strasbourg, France)
Olivier took the distance double, posting 7:55.61/15:05.08 in the 800/1500 free at French Nationals. Neither swim qualified him for worlds but he had qualified in open water.
2017 FINA World Aquatic Championships (Budapest, Hungary)
Olivier won the very first gold medal awarded at the 2017 FINA World Aquatic Championships in Budapest. In the men’s 5k open water event, it came down to Olivier and Italy’s Mario Sanzullo at the finish with Olivier taking Gold in 54:31.40. Clearly on form, he defended his Olympic bronze in the 10k with a medal of the same color in the same event at Worlds. Ferry Weertman (1:51:58.50) and Jordan Wilimovsky (1:51:58.60) finished ahead of Olivier’s 1:51:59.20. Now on a roll, he anchored the French 4×1250 with 12:08 to gold to hold off Wilimovsky and help the team of Oceane Cassignol, Logan Fontaine, Aurelie Muller, and himself post a 54:05.90.
2018 LEN Open Water Cup
At the third leg in Barcelona, Olivier took second in the 10k behind Kristof Rasovszky with a swift 1:50:51.20.
2018 LEN European Aquatics Championships
After a disappointing 7th-place finish in the 5k, Olivier roared back in the 10k to take bronze behind Weertman and German Rob Muffels. His time of 1:49:34.7 was just a second back from Muffels. The French 5k mixed relay team won bronze while Olivier had the fasted non-leadoff split with a 12:36.8
2019 LEN Open Water World Cup
At the first stop in Eilat, Israel, Olivier won the men’s 10k. Olivier came up with the best effort (1:52:56.40) in the finish and touched 1.8 seconds ahead of compatriot David Aubry. Olivier pulled out of the race during the second stop in France.
2019 FINA Open Water Swim World Series
In the men’s 10k at the finish, Olivier was able to get just-enough separation to come out 2 seconds ahead of the photo-finish between Nicholas Sloman of Australia, Kristof Rasovsky of Hungary, and Ferry Weertman of Netherlands. His time of 1:56:02.00 netted Olivier $3,500 despite the hot conditions.
2019 FINA World Aquatic Championships (South Korea)
In the 25k, Olivier was in the top 4 for most of the early racing (including leading 2 laps), dropped out about midway through amid 2-4 foot waves, rain, and cold from the monsoons. In the men’s 10k, he took silver behind Florian Wellbrock by just .2 seconds. His 1:47:56.10 put him ahead of the German Rob Muffels.
2019 Military Games (Wuhan, China)
Olivier took the 800 free bronze in 7:56.51 behind Ji Xinjie of the host country and Sergii Frolov of Russia. In the 1500, it was the same podium but Frolov found himself at the top while Olivier beat out Ji Xinjie for 2nd with a 15:09.22.
2020 FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series
At the first stop in Doha, the men’s 10k ended in victory for Olivier with fellow 2019 Worlds 10k medalists Muffles and Wellbrock taking 2nd and 3rd respectively. Olivier’s 1:49.46.6 beet out the two by about 14 seconds, a large margin to what has been seen before and more than enough to net the Frenchman $3,500.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the IOC confirmed open water swimmers who qualified out of the 10K race at the 2019 FINA World Championships would remain qualified for the 2020(1) Olympics despite the movement of the games. Having netted a silver in the 10k at those championships, Oliver remained pre-qualified for Tokyo. During the lockdowns in France, Oliver was still training 5 hours per day biking, running, and swimming in a backyard pool in the northern countryside of the country with his girlfriend and fellow swimmer Océane Cassigno. He filled up his time with family, who he rarely saw before moving into quarantine with them in their family home. He also spent his time gardening and playing the video game “War Zone.”
2020 Italian Open Water Championships
In his first open water race since the pandemic began, Olivier took 2nd in the 10k behind Gregorio Paltrinieri in 1:52:23.9. Oliver also took silver in the 5k but won the 2.5k with a 24:55.7, just .1 ahead of Paltrinieri.
2020 French Open Water Championships (Jablines, France)
Olivier won the men’s 10k open water race, beating out the next-closest competitor Fares Zitouni by about 4 seconds with a 1:53:33.26. He also won the 5k in 52:40.19 to top the field by 10 seconds.
2020 French Elite Championships (Saint-Raphaël, France)
In the best, for he has ever been in the pool, Oliver posted impressive times in his usual 800/1500 free. David Aubrey was the 1500 freestyle winner, clinching the gold in 15:00.08 to just edge Olivier who finished in 15:00.59. In the 800 he posted a 7:53.78. Both swims were about 3 seconds off FINA ‘A’ cuts and further off the FFN standards needed to qualify for the 2020(1) Olympic Games.
2021 FINA Marathon Swim World Series
At the Doha stop of the 2021 FINA Marathon Swim World Series, Olivier won the men’s 10K, finishing in 1:52:02.40, more than three seconds ahead of anyone else.
2021 LEN European Aquatics Championships (Budapest Hungary)
In the 5k, Olivier took silver (55:45.1) behind Paltrinieri (55:43.3) and ahead of Dario Verani (55:46.6). It was Paltrinieri in 1st (1:51:20.6) and Olivier (1:51:41.7) in 2nd again in the men’s 10k while world champion Florian Wellbrock came in 3rd in the men’s 10k
2020(1) Olympic Games (Tokyo, Japan)
Florian Wellbrock truly dominated the field in the men’s 10k race at the Oadaiba Marine Park in Tokyo, Japan. Olivier, as well as several other open water stalwarts including Weertman, found themselves out of the medals. Wellbrock’s winning time of 1:48:33.7 beat Kristof Rasovszky’s 1:48:59.0 bronze time by 25.3 seconds while Olivier’s 7th place time of 1:50:23.0 fell well off Wellbrock’s time.
2022 FINA World Aquatics Championships (Budapest, Hungary)
In the men’s 5k, Olivier finished 5th with a 53:26.0, 37.2 seconds back from the winner Wellbrock. In the 5k relay, the French team which included Olivier finished 4th. Olivier missed out on another medal in the men’s 10k with a 4th place finish; this time he was only .3 seconds back from Wellbrock who took bronze. He swam a solid race and was able to sneak back through the pack toward the finish in a time of 1:51:11.5.
2022 LEN European Aquatics Championships (Rome, Italy)
After an off Worlds, Olivier was able to bounce back at the 2022 LEN European Aquatics Championships in Rome, Italy. In the 10k, he finished 2nd, 3.7 seconds back from Italy’s Domenico Acerenza. He took silver with a 1:50:37.3. In the 5k he raced to 3rd in 52:20.8. He was beaten by Paltrinieri and Acerenza.
2023 Martinique Open (Les Anses-d’Arlet, Martinique)
Olivier was edged by Logan Fontaine in the 10k but secured a spot for World Championships. In the 5k, the same men took the top 2 spots but flipped the finish order. A few months after, the French Swimming Federation (FFN) suspended Olivier until August 31 in a statement, rendering him unable to compete at either the World Championships in Fukuoka in July or the Open Water World Cup stop in Paris in early August.
The FFN cited three incidents over the past couple of years in which Olivier acted inappropriately toward French team staff. The behavior allegedly began at a World Cup stop in Abu Dhabi in December of 2021, and he was fined by a disciplinary board as a result. Then at April’s 2023 Martinique Open,, the FFN said it warned him again for “virulent remarks against the coaching in front of organizers of the event. The final straw was when he supposedly committed the same offense just 15 days later at the Open Water World Cup stop in Soma Bay, Egypt, where he took silver in both the 10km and mixed 4×1500 relay events.
“The selection criteria for the French swimming teams are indeed based on the performances achieved, but also on the respect of values and principles of collective functioning,” the FFN wrote. “Recent incidents involving Marc-Antoine Olivier have unfortunately led us to make this decision.”
“We hope it will make him click,” French technical director Julien Issoulie said. “He is really gifted, but we cannot accept everything. It’s not performance at any price. We can’t dust under the rug because it’s a medal chance.”
Olivier told SwimSwam he planned to appeal the three-month suspension and provide his own comments on the situation soon.
2023 French Elite Championships (Rennes, France)
Despite his suspension, Olivier competed for his club at the 2023 French Elite Championships in Rennes, France. He posted a 7:50.23 in the 800 free for 2nd. The best time would have qualified him for Worlds but his suspension extends to the pool.
–This biography was originally developed by Lucas Caswell