2021 FFN GOLDEN TOUR CAMILLE MUFFAT – NICE
The FFN Camille Muffat Golden Tour comes to Nice, France, this weekend, starting with the first session of prelims tomorrow morning.
Last year, Olympian Kathleen Baker of the United States was the big headliner, posting winning times of 2:08.75 in the 200 IM, a 2:07.22 in the 200 back and a 27.77 in the 50 back. This year, there are no Americans on the start list, though COVID-19 restrictions would make it difficult, if not impossible, for Americans to travel to the meet at all.
France will have some of their top swimmers racing in Nice this weekend, including national record-holders Florent Manaudou, Charlotte Bonnet, Mehdy Metella, Leon Marchand, David Aubry, Fantine Lesaffre and Melanie Henique. Among these names are Manaudou, who took time off from the sport between the 2016 Olympics and summer 2019, and Metella, who in October 2020 swam his first races post-shoulder surgery. Manaudou is coming off of the ISL season, while Metella looked good in December at the French Elite Nationals, dropping from his 54.7 in the 100 fly in October to a 52.8.
World record-holders Katinka Hosszu and Kristof Milak appear on the start lists, alongside Hungarian standouts Richard Bohus and Gergely Gyurta. Milak, the 200 fly world record-holder, threw down a 51.07 in the 100 fly at the Hungarian Championships (and Olympics qualifier) in December 2020, where he also went a lifetime best 200 free (1:46.68) but was off in the 200 fly, taking second at the meet in 1:54.98.
Milak was infected by the coronavirus last fall, which caused him to bow out of 2020 ISL competition, and in December he noted that he was still feeling the effects from missing training and the disease itself.
Israel and Germany both have strong contingents racing this weekend, too. For Israel, all-around weapon Anastasia Gorbenko is the highlight, along with ISL swimmer Yakov Toumarkin, University of Tennessee standout Marc Hinawi and Cal commit Lea Polonsky. Former world record-holder Marco Koch is one of the heavy hitters for Germany, alongside German record-holder Philip Heintz and teenagers Zoe Vogelmann and Kim Herkle, a Louisville commit.
Trinidad & Tobago’s Dylan Carter and Denmark’s Pernille Blume are two big sprinters on the start list, while Russia will be represented by Russian SCM champion Anna Egorova and distance specialist Anastasia Kirpichnikova, among others.
Swiss record-holders Jeremy Desplanches, Lisa Mamie, Maria Ugolkova and Nils Liess will be racing this weekend, as well as a group of Dutch swimmers: Thom de Boer, Maarten Brzoskowski, Kyle Stolk, Valerie Van Roon and Tamara Van Vliet.
Notably, Van Roon last month broke 25 seconds for the first time ever in the 50 free (24.63), and in doing so, qualified (at the last eligible meet) for the Dutch Olympic team. She took the second spot behind Ranomi Kromowidjojo, which had been filled by Femke Heemskerk up until that point; Heemskerk is still qualified in the 100 free, but she had to withdraw from the qualifier meet at the last minute due to her husband testing positive for coronavirus and being forced to quarantine.
Other notable names include Greek record-holders Apostolos Christou, Anna Ntountounaki and Theodora Drakou, Belgian record-holder Fanny Lecluyse, Portuguese record-holder Ana Catarina Monteiro and Liechtenstein record-holder Julia Hassler.