French breaststroke champion Hugues Duboscq has parted ways with his long-time coach Christos Paparrodopoulos after a disastrous 2011 World Championship meet where he failed to final in the 100, or even semi-final in the 200. The 30-year old has been working with Parraodopouls for the better part of two decades, and feels that his technique is what failed him in Shanghai.
“It was this year or never. I’ve known Christos since I was 12 or 13 years old but for all the good level of work on technique, I think I can do better with with Benoît. After all these years, it’s like a woman who tells you ‘I want to stay with you but I also want a lover’ … It’s not easy”, Duboscq said of the move.
He will now work with the duo of Yves Guerniou and Benoit Masclaux. Masclaux is a rising star on the french coaching scene, and is actually two-years Duboscq’s junior. He has been coaching at the Le Havre where Duboscq has been training. This will create an interesting dynamic for the pair that will have to be built out of mutual respect.
Paparrodopoulos disagrees about the reasons for Duboscq’s short-falls, and views himself as more of a scapegoat for what was actually caused by “fatigue and lack of competition build-up”. These international coaching splits rarely go smoothly, so the view of both sides has to be taken for what it is.
The return to form of the European Record holder in the 100 breast (58.64, which is the second-best time ever) will be crucial for the turnaround of the French medley relay. That quartet was pegged as a strong contender for gold headed into Worlds, but a prelims flop (only part of which can be shouldered by Duboscq) left them out of the final in the final race of the meet.