Camille Muffat Continues Craziness at Paris Open Day 1

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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Jean Michel
10 years ago

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

10 years ago


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…

10 years ago

Respect Frederick Bousquet! My favourite sprinter!

10 years ago

japan weak freestyle,butterfly no can win

bobo gigi
Reply to  DDU
10 years 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.

Reply to  bobo gigi
10 years 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.

bobo gigi
10 years 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.

Reply to  bobo gigi
10 years 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
Reply to  aswimfan
10 years 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.

bobo gigi
10 years 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… Read more »

Reply to  bobo gigi
10 years 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.

Reply to  aswimfan
10 years 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… Read more »

TX Swimmer
10 years 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.

10 years ago

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

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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