Florent Manaudou, in His Own Words (Interviews in Montpellier)

Reigning Olympic champion in the 50 free, Florent Manaudou, is ready for his 50-100 freestyle double at 2016 French Elite Nationals in Montpellier. The Marseille sprinter hits the water for the first time on Friday, April 1, when he will swim the 100 free in a tightly-packed field alongside a half dozen of his training partners.

Manaudou has given a number of interviews already, in which he has stated that he is confident and ready for the challenge. Hear what he had to say in the pre-meet press conference:

“It’s really important; if we weren’t here we wouldn’t go to the Olympics, so it’s an important week. I don’t really consider it a week though, because I only swim twice with a day of rest between the two. It will be a little like a Golden Tour, like we’ve done earlier in the season. I’ll just have to swim a little faster, at a higher level.”

“No one is really a shoe-in. Even if I have an easier time with the 50 than others, it’s a week with a lot of negative pressure and we are hoping to leave here with tickets for Rio. I’m hoping to have two, personally, but there will be smiles and tears here, as there always are.”

“I am hoping to qualify for both. If it wasn’t a big deal I wouldn’t have trained for it. Which means I wouldn’t have felt like doing it. So I’m going to give it my all and swim a fast time here.”

“It’s exciting [to swim against the Marseille teammates]. I think about two-thirds of my competitors swim with me every day. It’s good to swim against competitors who are also friends but you can’t think about that when you are on the blocks. It’s exciting but there will be some left behind and we all want to go [to Rio].”

“I am really looking forward to the 100 this week, even more than the 50. I’d like to see where I am and it’s also a question mark because I think that if I don’t go under 48 it becomes complicated afterwards to win an Olympic title. I have big ambitions and if I achieve my ambitions I think will win one of the two tickets to Rio.”

“I would like to go 47.4 but it’s complicated to say that because I’ve never really swum the 100 at a high level in the final of a big meet. Except in short course, but that’s completely different. But yes, I’d like to go out like in Marseille [Editor’s note: 22.49] and come back in less than 25. That would be 47.4, and that would be the top time in the world for the season, and the second-fastest time ever, after Chartres [Editor’s note: the FFN’s 2009 Short Course Championships in Chartres marked the end of the “suit era” in France], so that would be nice.”

“What I’m feeling is a mix of impatience, fear, and desire. It’s often the recipe for a good meet. It’s not really fear, but if I were already qualified [for the Olympics] I wouldn’t do this meet. I have to go earn my tickets to Rio.”

“The 100 is going to be a very tight race. It will be important not to slip up in the morning heats. I think it’s the race that makes me most afraid [in inverted commas]. I like to be afraid in heats because that forces me to swim fast.”

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6 years ago

It may not be politically correct to say it, but Manaudou is not a great swimmer. He is very versatile and very strong, but Stravius has better strokes, better turns and clearly more endurance. Stravius reminds me of Anthony Ervin, not very big but very smooth and efficient.

In fact, from his post-swim declarations to his crazy fast start, I get the feeling that Manaudou was not very confident in his chances. He knew Stravius was a great finisher, and from training daily with Mignot he knew he would have his hands full with him, plus Mignot used to swim the 200 so he had stamina.

That said, Manaudou could have a great really in Rio.

Jacques Swim
6 years ago

I think Messr. Manaudou talks too much.
I hope his goal is actually far faster than 47.40, because I don’t think it’s wise to keep talking about your actual goal which puts unnecessary pressure on himself.

In the meantime, there is another swimmer, younger and half his size but obviously wiser and more down to earth, who actually has swum 47.5 and split 46.6 recently.

6 years ago

I have some doubts that the newly constructed aquatic facility in Rio will be up to spec and produce the type of very fast times we expect based on the book value of the athletes. Don’t be surprised if the pool is slower than what you expect not because of the athletes. This is not going to be a Beijing or a London in my opinion. Will be an outdoor pool for one.

Canada eh
Reply to  Hank
6 years ago

Just because it is an outdoor pool doesn’t mean there won’t be fast times. Rome 2009 was outdoor, and correct me if i’m wrong but that was the fastest meet in history (suited of course)

Bill Bell
6 years ago

I think he’ll save 47.4 for The Bug Dance in South America. No point killing yourself when not necessary. Forty- eight lie should be plenty fast to punch his ticket. Make the team in both they forty- six plus @ Rio — with Dressel winning the golds in 20.5/45.0!

Reply to  Bill Bell
6 years ago

Then you wake up and realize it was just a dream

Reply to  Bill Bell
6 years ago

what dressel did at nc’s was amazing, however SCY and LCM are two different sports. He would be lucky to go 21.3 and 48.0

Reply to  GD
6 years ago

If you actually look at his converted times from last year, his LC conversion for the 50 was only .01 off. Granted, he did have a few more months to train, but then again he also is going to have a few more months to train this year so it should be fairly similar again. His 50 time from this year converts to a 21.00 and his 100 time converts converters to a 47-mid (I can’t remember the exact conversion). All of this combined with the excitement of being at the olympics and coming off multiple amazing performances at NCAA’s, he should do fairly well. I personally see him as a contender for gold in the 50 but not the… Read more »

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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