Camille Muffat Continues Craziness at Paris Open Day 1

  40 Braden Keith | July 06th, 2012 | Featured, International, News

Nico Messer was born and raised in Switzerland, and is currently the head coach for Vevey Natation. He has spent time working as an assistant with the famed Race Club program in the Florida Keys, and is a former elite-level swimmer himself. He is on deck this week at the Paris Open giving us first-hand accounts and feel from what he sees with his own eyes. His website can be found here. You can also follow him on Twitter @aquadonis.

Looking at my own Twitter feed the word is already out on what happened during the finals in Paris. Obviously, there are plenty of ways you can get results faster than waiting for me to type up the post for SwimSwam on my phone in Paris. But what you can get only by visiting SwimSwam is the opinion of swim coach that many people think is too young and crazy. So I really hope you enjoy these reports, even though I might let you find some of the results on your own.

The afternoon in Paris started with the B-Finals of all events. Wasn’t exactly the most exciting way to start the meet, although the B-Final of the men’s 100 free had the most “foreign” athletes swimming. But at the end the French ended up on “top” with Amaury Leveaux taking the 9th-place “win” in 49.80 ahead of the two Russian sprinters.

Just as the distance ladies were about to walk out of the calling room for their 800 free a dark cloud over the pool brought about 10 minutes of heaving rain and some thunders. They had the people exit the stands all while the athletes continued their final preparations in the warm-up pool. There were short moment of doubt whether the organizers would be able to run the A-Finals or if they had to cancel the “real” final sessions.

Eventually, the competitors walked out for their 800 freestyle but with the short showers most people didn’t even realize that Camille Muffat was lined up for this final. Looking at her first 400 meters I wasn’t sure if maybe she was the sole swimmer to stop the warm-up during the showers just before. But it was probably her race plan to do what she recently did at the Mare Nostrum meets in her 400 freestyles – take it out real smooth and bring it home in a time that could win individual races elsewhere. Camille split an amazing 4:04 on her 2nd 400! Her final time of 8:23.60 is a personal best and ranks her 6th in the world this year and 23rd-best of all time!

But Camille didn’t have enough for today. Switching through the gears in the 800 was impressive but what she delivered in the 200 free only about 10 minutes later deserves the labeled “scary”. Some might think that after an 800 free this wouldn’t be an easy task, especially if you swam a 4:04 on your 2nd 400 meters. But she started her next race right where she left off the previous, at full speed, winning in a dominate 1:56.21 (splitting 28 on her last 50). And still, although I do think she worked a lot harder this evening and pushed it more, I don’t think she showed us what she’s capable of doing just yet. I heard a few people in the stands say that if she doesn’t win the 400 free in London, she probably decided not to swim it.

Just as this morning, Yannick Agnel took it out fast in the final of the 400 free in an opposite tact of Muffat. Going out just a little slower in 1:48 he did hold on for the win this time finishing in 3:51.97 and then came back at the very end of the meet to pull of the upset winning the 100 freestyle ahead of Jeremy Stravius and Aussie Matt Target.

Earlier in the session Target barely out-touched local sprint star Fred Bousquet by 0.1 of a second in the men’s 50 fly. Fabio Scozzoli won the men’s 50 breast ahead of French Olympian Giacomo Perez Dortona, by times of 27.73 – 27.77; Dortona continues to look better as the French’s new number-one breaststroker. But Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa finishing 3rd looked the “strongest” of the sprinters in that final in 27.86. This comes probably without a big surprise as he has explained the shift of his focus from the 50 breaststroke to the 100 leading up to the Olympics several times of the past year.

Laszlo Cseh also had his appearance in the 400 IM. His winning result of 4:13 is a great time, but he wasn’t pushed at any point during this 400 and it was very obvious that he just took this race as another stop on the road to London.

Michael Jamieson of Great Britain had a great 200 breaststroke out of lane 6, touching in 2:11.24 for the win.

Now don’t get me wrong and misinterprate my focus on the men’s side. There were other races on the women’s side…there just wasn’t quite anything left that could be more exciting than those first 20 minutes of the meet with Camille Muffat and her two races. But here’s a quick run down of what else happened today.

The women’s 50 free saw Dutch sprint Queen Marleen Veldhuis getting the better of Swedish sprint diva Therese Alshammar, both with sub 25″ efforts. It wasn’t a good looking swim by Marleen but sure got the job done. Many swim fans have Therese on their medal list for the 50 free at the Olympics, and although the outcome of the past Olympic Games aren’t in her favor, it’s probably about time she climbs the throne that she’s occupied for so many years now. Her stroke looked really good and with so many different countries participating it’s hard to know where exactly everyone is in their preparation/taper right now.

Marseille based Dutch sprinter Inge Dekker showed some speed taking out the 100 fly under World Record pace and eventually taking the win in 58.37, with Germany’s Alexandra Wenk being the only other sub 60″ effort.

Kirsty Coventry pulled off the double in the 200 IM (2:13.60) and 200 back (2:10.10) all within about 20 minutes. Her backstroke doesn’t look quite right yet as she seems to lack some of the front-end speed that used to get her ahead of the pack in the past. But her back half looks as strong if not stronger (splitting 31 on her last 50) as before. That 200 time is her best of the year, and though she was a bit faster in the IM in January, it doesn’t look as though she’s been held-back too badly by her knee injury.

I noticed that the SwimSwam readers are really active in participating in the discussions through the comments. So I thought, I end today’s report with some “bold” statements that hopefully get some discussion going.

1. Aussie Eamon Sullivan’s start doesn’t look as great in person as it does on TV.
2. Too many international female swimmers seem to have really weak starts.
3. Fred Busquet is just a class act! Patiently waited 40 minutes for a bus taking him back to the hotel and even had time to joke around with the volunteer officials of the meet – great athlete in and out of the pool!

Tomorrow should be another exciting day in Paris as a few other top athletes should join in on the fun.

Full Meet Results are available here.

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40 Comments on "Camille Muffat Continues Craziness at Paris Open Day 1"


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Kirt
3 years 10 months ago

Looks like Stravius is back on his game in the 100 free. This gives the French a better option and it is not looking great for the US.

3 years 10 months ago

The French seem to look like they have too many options for the 400 FR. The Aussie haven’t really shown anything since their Olympic Trials meet. I wouldn’t count out the Russians and Brazilians for at least having an outside chance. Then again, if the US team steps up similar to Cullen Jones in his individual 100 free at US Trials, anything seems possible. Sure going to be a great race at the Olympics.

Kirt
3 years 10 months ago

Stravius swimming well is good for France. While they have many options, Bernard is their #4 and has not proven to be a good relay swimmer, Lefert (#5 out of trials) is completely unproven in the 100 (also, 48.6 isn’t fast enough), and Meynard was waaay off his 48.00 from last year, and despite being put on the team appears unlikely to make the finals relay. If Stravius is on their likely finals lineup is Agnel, Leveaux, Stravius, Gilot.

Tom
3 years 10 months ago

Just a comment about Bernard not being a good relay swimmer – I assume you are referring to 2008, when he “lost it” to Lezak in that incredible final. In fact Bernard split 46.73 on that leg, which I am pretty sure makes him the third fastest on a relay split ever, after his team-mate Bousquet (46.63 (in both heats and final)), and Lezak’s insane 46.06. So I’m not sure you can quite call that “not good”!!!

Kirt
3 years 10 months ago

On Bernard, I’m referring more to the past two years. I agree he gets a bad rap; people still consider him to have “come out of nowhere” in 2008 when he was a 48.1 in 2007. But his leadoff last year was pretty bad in finals and his anchor in 2010 was 48.7. He appears to be heading in the wrong direction, at least enough that if Stravius looks on a similar level to the past two years I would go with him.
@John26 not sure I understand what you’re saying. If you’re referring to the French, then yes, Leveaux is not definite since he’s sort of on a comeback himself, and the 4th spot is uncertain, but Agnel and Gilot are on for sure.

john26
3 years 10 months ago

this is not a fairassessment as half the finals relay (the younger half) havent even swam since trials. Of the half that have swum, none of the 3 havebroken 49, bu all three are swimmers who’veonly done so under taper. Nonetheless the frenchman havent eiher so there is no reason for worry.

Nadador
3 years 10 months ago

Bousquet is a true champion: too bad he isn’t going to London!

beachmouse
3 years 10 months ago

Fred’s been a favorite of mine for a while now, but for all that he was utterly brilliant during his NCAA run, he’s tended to be maddeningly inconsistent elsewhere outside of the suit years. Go all the way back to 2003, when he had an awesome 47.03 4×100 FR split at World Championships, way faster than Popov or Thorpe, and then went a relatively pedestrian 49.3 in the 100 free finals a few days later.

I wasn’t surprised to see him air ball it at the French Trials; I would have been equally unsurprised to see him throw down a time to make Magnusson nervous.

Nostradamus
3 years 10 months ago

He had a much better Lenk meet in Brazil. He did go 21.7 (which would have made the French team). I agree though, he has been inconsistent. I think he will post some impressive times here though, he’ll want to put on a show for his French fans.

aswimfan
3 years 10 months ago

Nico Messer,
Agnel winning the 100 free is definitely NOT “pull off the upset”.
In fact, Agnel was a strong favorite to win 100 free in Paris Open. Remember that he is currently the world’s third fastest 100 sprinter.
Sullivan not finaling is not surprising, he (and Targett) has just spent 3 days to reach Paris.

And I am quite shocked at Muffat’s 800 (or rather second 400). Barring disaster, she is quite unbeatable in 400. And now it seems she has also some design on the 800 as well. That would make 800 free a very very exciting race.

john26
3 years 10 months ago

Muffat is not swimming the 800m. I believe she didn’t swim it at trials and her name isn’t on this list for the 800.
http://www.fina.org/H2O/docs/events/london2012/sw/OQT_confirmed_perevent.pdf

This list was posted on this site a few weeks ago, to tell the truth I have no idea what to make of it since it has the Italian men in the 100free final, and Park Taehwan in the 1500m free, events where we’ve heard the individuals claim are not swimming. On the other hand, the list is updated in that it doesn’t have Phelps in the 200free (Berens instead).

3 years 10 months ago

I put this down as an upset since the 100 free final could as well have been a final at a big meet looking at the sprint power in it. Also I don’t think Agnel has a stroke that fits the 100 free (yet). In my opinion he’s just too tall with too long arms and can’t control his technique the same way he does swimming the middle distance races.

aswimfan
3 years 10 months ago

NIco,

Whether Agnel is too tall, has too long arms etc, it is inconsequential. The fact is, Agnel is FASTER (in textile) than ANYONE in the final.

3 years 10 months ago

In no way I wanted to deny or make it sound that he’s not fast (one of the fastest in textile). It just seems he won’t be able to improve a lot on his time in the coming three weeks. Whereas those heavy sprinter guys probably just gonna get faster and more explosive with more rest. If he proves me wrong come London, I’ll have no problem to give him the sprinter credits he deserves.

john26
3 years 10 months ago

Nico,
I understand what you are saying about Agnel having a middle distance stroke, which doesn’t necessarily fit the 100. However, I argue that it is possible that he could do major damage with the middle distance stroke. What we’ve seen in several dominant 100distance swimmers ie. Rebecca Soni, Michael Phelps is that their 100 distance stroke is almost identical to their 200 stroke, just at a slower tempo.

Even Magnussen and Hoogenband’s successes have been credited to his 200 styled stroke. In all these swimmers, the key is that their 200 stroke allows them to come back half a second faster than rivals who have a more specialized sprint stroke (ie Cavic, Hardy, Cielo)

Now, as we’ve seen in all these athletes with the middle distance stroke, the true challenge is whether they can use their 200stroke to be able to get out to stay close enough with the field to use their 2nd half. From what we’ve seen so far, Agnel has done so, he has beaten the best of France, and since switching his focus away from the 400, he has dropped immense amount of time. Clearly, he hasn’t had to switch his stroke to drop major time, and like many great 100 freestylers in the past, he is using the middle distance stroke as a winning formula.

I would not be shocked if Agnel beats Cielo and Adrian in London.

3 years 10 months ago

John26 – as you stated there are enough counter examples that run in Agnel’s favor…I would even go as far and say that I agree. However I’m “opinionated” as what I’m looking for in a 100 freestyle swimmer as a coach and I’m not seeing Angel fit in that pattern right now. He most certainly proved all those wrong that thought his shift away from the 400 was a mistake. Anyone who keeps a list should have him on there at least for the 200 free in London.

However I think there’s a reason why Phelps eventually decided not to swim the 100 free individually that wasn’t all depending on his Olympoc program. Or why Magnussen isn’t going for the 200 free. I don’t think it’s because they fear the competition but because their training regime (even for Phelps as a multiple events athlete) is built around an event and stroke. In my opinion specialization is no longer just a stroke or type of athlete (sprint, mid distance or distance) but a specific event.

But I’m looking forward to see what Agnel will show the world in London…he made a name for himself in events that are dominated by some of the greatest athletes and that alone deserves every ounce of respect even if he goes home without an individual medal from London.

john26
3 years 10 months ago

It’s a very interesting point you bring up about specialization. I haven’t thought about how far swimming as come in terms of specialization.

However, I disagree that it has been to the extent where it is to a specific event. Track and Field is a sport where specialization is far more apparent– so much so that athletes who can win more than one race at the highest level comes along roughly once every 10 years (Bolt, Johnson, Lewis…etc).

Swimming hasn’t gotten to that level of specialization. You really have to go back far to Rowdy Gaines, Mark Spitz era to find swimmers that were able to dominate the 50 through 200m (3 distances), and even with the talent that is Sun Yang, and however talented his successors are, I feel that specialization and the growth of international competition will likely mean that we will unlikely to see anyone win 200-400-1500 again.

At the same time, we’re definitely not at a point in time where we are specialized like track. The 200 freestyle is the most competitive event because all the major competitors are either a 100-200 guy, or a 200-400 guy. In other strokes where 200+ distances aren’t offered, most of the top guys are also at least medal contenders in the 100.

Jg
3 years 10 months ago

I am sorry to see Eammon & Matty have had to drag themselves away from their main purpose in Paris -that of making the Aussie dancers at the Moulin Rouge just a little bit less homesick.

Camille is on a unique journey. I can see that growing up as an IM swimmer gives strength etc & obviously has put in some ks. However almost always natural endurance athletes show up early with top 800s & a good 400im.

There is one other example but he/she is a confirmed drug cheat so I will not compere.

I can perhaps understand if there has been a big increase in metres but then again it is not usual for these swimmers to pull out such inseason times. Maybe a 15-16 year old but adult? Again -unique.

aswimfan
3 years 10 months ago

JG,

wow. Those are such strong statements you are making against Muffat.
Remember that Allison Schmitt is also making similar progress, and at similar age.

Jg
3 years 10 months ago

I am saying it is unique. If you can give me some examples I am ready. i thought of Hoff switching over in 07 to become a top distance swimmer with huge drops but she was already a 1.57 200 frrestyler & was only 17.

Allison Schmitt was a freestyler in 07 witching to NBAC. fulltime pre Beijing. Plus she had the Lzrs. 4 years on Allison’s times are trackable & if you plotted them consistent.

Cammilles are very different to anyone else I can recall. You are the one casting aspersions -I said I was not comparing to -you can guess .

Josh
3 years 10 months ago

This is Muffat’s time progression since 2008. There is nothing out of the ordinary about it.
2012: 1:54.66
2011: 1:55.95
2010: 1:56.92
2009: 1:57.84
2008: 1:58.30

If you want to see an odd progression, go look at what Annika Lurz (Liebs) did at the age of 27.
2004 – not in the world top 150
2005 – 1:59.99 (32nd in the world at 26)
2006 – 1:56.73 (1st in the world at 27)
2007 – 1:55.68 (2nd in the world at 28 behind Laure Manaudou’s WR)
2008 – 1:57.83 (22nd in the world at 29)
2009 – completely out of the top 150 never to return again.

aswimfan
3 years 10 months ago

Co-signed.

Jg
3 years 10 months ago

Most top swimmers are just getting up to their LZR swims. Few are .5 secs /200 over their plastic times.

the focus of my post was endurance events. This capacity as demonstrated inher 8 23 is not just discovered but seen early in a career. If she had been a top 400 imer then I would not find it so unusual.

The German lady was a freestyler in a mega distance programe not a sprint Imer.

Josh
3 years 10 months ago

Muffat was a 4:38 400 IMmer in 2008.

FreeStyler
3 years 10 months ago

Give us an assessment of Scott Weltz big drop in time.

Jg
3 years 10 months ago

I do not know Scotts times but I read he is a recent college graduate . Maybe he realized he needed to have something else in California’s poor job market for grads.

!2 months ago the US 200 breastroke was looking weak . Also young men are still growing stronger -what is he 23? He could improve on that & especially if he was a more lightly trained as a youngster & therefore had not maximized his times previously.

Not so women -only through training.

SwimSam
3 years 10 months ago

Thanks for the great coverage Nico! Once again… SwimSwam ahead of the curve!

TX Swimmer
3 years 10 months ago

In her WC bronze medal swim she clocked 1.56.10. 5 mins after a clocking a top 2012 time she goes about the same time as her bronze medal time last year! Incredible stuff. Barring injury or a DQ I don’t see her losing either the 200 or 400.

bobo gigi
3 years 10 months ago

It’s not Cammile Muffat, it’s Camille Muffat. It’s not Yannick Angel but it’s Yannick Agnel.
I don’t know what is the most impressive race. 8.23.60 in the 800 free with these crazy splits or 1.56.21 in the 200 free just a few minutes after? She’s fantastic but I don’t know what game she plays with her opponents. During the Mare Nostrum she has swum a 400 free with crazy splits too in 2.04 and 1.58. It’s a little arrogant. Will she swim like this at the olympic games? I don’t think. She wants to show she’s able to swim a monster back-half. I believe her best opponents in the world have seen that.
For many months now I repeat Camille Muffat will win the 200 free and the 400 free in London. I don’t say that because she’s french like me but just because she’s another swimmer since end of last year. Until last year she was a very good freestyler. Since last November, her stage in USA and her wins in big races she’s an unbeatable freestyler. If somebody had said me two years ago she would dominate like this her races in 2012 I wouldn’t have believed him. She was a good IM swimmer but nothing fantastic and she has decided with her coach to forget IM to focus on freestyle and we can say it works very well. Now she has to finish the job with 2 gold medals. Yes she’s physically unbeatable. The only question about her is the mental. It will be the first time she will be the favorite. She’s full of confidence so I would be surprised if she would crack under the pression.

aswimfan
3 years 10 months ago

I think that 800 is more amazing. just incredible.

Going 4:04 FROM THE PUSH AFTER SWIMMING 400?? Are you kidding me?

I think she is going to take prelims and semis of 200 and 400 VERY FAST, just to make her competitors more tired and more anxious.

Jack
3 years 10 months ago

I think everybody will go hard in the heats/semi finals simply because they have to. A 4.07 from Adlington/Pellegrini etc won’t make the 400 free final unlike Shanghai. All the big girls will line up on the blocks in the 400 heats wanting to go sub 4.05 and sticking to that, and if Camille shoots off and does a 4.01 or something, if I was Federica, Allison or Becky I’d be thinking “this girl has all the talent but why is she still trying to intimidate me?” and the bell would be ringing, it’s mind over matter in the final……Camillie and her coach, great as they may be might just be over thinking this, trying to prove too much, just my thinking. I still think she’ll win though 🙂

Allison Schmitt has a HUGE role in this race….I’d love to see how Camille would react to another 57/1.58 front half split because I honestly think she’d s*** herself and bolt after her….we’ll see….She SHOULD win if it is about talent, but it is not.

bobo gigi
3 years 10 months ago

Jérémy Stravius back to the form is a good news for the french relays especially the 4X200 free relay. With Yannick Agnel, Clément Lefert, Amaury Leveaux and Jérémy Stravius I think the silver medal is for France. And next year they will win the gold medal at the world championships. Yes some american swimming fans who don’t like Michael Phelps (I can’t understand how it is possible) will cry when USA will lose the 3 relays next year and they will immediately regret the greatest swimmer of all time.

aswimfan
3 years 10 months ago

I think USA will still be safe to win 4×100 medley in 2013 Barcelona. Phelps will be replaced by either Lochte or McGill, and they will still win.

bobo gigi
3 years 10 months ago

You don’t replace Brendan Hansen if he retires and especially Michael Phelps like that. In my opinion Japan will have a big chance to win. Perhaps 2013 will be one of the few occasions in history to beat USA in a big international competition. After that with Ryan Murphy on backstroke and Kevin Cordes on breaststroke USA will be unbeatable during many years.

DDU
3 years 10 months ago

japan weak freestyle,butterfly no can win

bobo gigi
3 years 10 months ago

I don’t talk about 2012 or 2015. I talk about 2013. And excuse me but I don’t consider butterfly as weak in Japan. I repeat for Japan it’s next year or not before a very long time.

Kirt
3 years 10 months ago

I can see that Japan has a lot of potential. If Irie can be 52.5 (from 52.8), Kitajima splits 58.2 from 58.7 individual, Fujii or whoever splits 51.2, and then Kenta Ito drops .5 or so to get to 48 low and then has a good relay swim, 3:30 or faster would be well within the realm of possibility. The problem is that Japan’s freestylers and butterfliers lack any sort of consistency.

George
3 years 10 months ago

Respect Frederick Bousquet! My favourite sprinter!

Tom
3 years 10 months ago

JG,

I’m a friend of Muffat’s coach.

All the group had updated their daily charge from 10 to 12km per day between 2010 and 2011, and from 12 to 14/15km per day between 2011 and 2012.

They work really really hard.
Camille has one the greatest crawl technique in the world, she’s naturally powerfull.
And of course she’s clean.
Fabrice is a wonderfull coach, very smart with brilliant methods.

In the past I also had sometimes doubts when I saw big performances around the world.
I know now that such things can happen without illegal methods…

Jean Michel
3 years 10 months ago

Even without Phelps , Usa will win the 400 medley relay next year ! period

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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