2014 French Long Course National Championships
- Dates: Tuesday, April 8 – Sunday, April 13, 2014
- Times: prelims 9:00 am, semis/ finals 5:00 pm
- Location: Chartres, France (GMT +1, or 6 hours ahead of N.Y., 9 ahead of L.A.)
- Results: Available Here
- Televised: Eurosport France
- Championship Central
In Part One and Part Two of the meet preview we explained that the 2014 version of France’s Long Course Championships in Chartres would be a huge national meet gathering the country’s elite and age-group swimmers together under one roof.
In a meet this size there are a lot of moving parts; notably the Federation is selecting four national teams to represent France abroad this summer, from the results in Chartres. The elite swimmers are trying to qualify for the 2014 European Championships in Berlin. The Federation has loosened its criteria this year and will take the top four finishers in each event, provided they meet the FINA time standard in finals. As the week goes on we will keep track of who’s going to Euros in the chart below.
Day One: Tuesday, April 8 – Finals Contested:
Men’s 400 free: There was little disagreement that Yannick Agnel would emerge victorious in the 400 free. There was, however, a bit of disappointment from the virtual grandstands that he didn’t win in a faster time than 3:49.65. After all, his seed time was a 3:46-low and his lifetime best was 3:43-high; shouldn’t he have been faster?
2014 – 52.60; 57.94; 59.52; 59.59 = 3:49.65
2011 – 54.36; 57.82; 56.87; 54.80 = 3:43.85
Here’s my take: Not necessarily. #1 His goal, clearly stated in advance, was to make the French team in order to be able to swim this event in Berlin. It has been several years since he competed in the 400 on the international scene; all he needed to do was place in the top four and go under 3:53. He did both. #2 It’s the first day of a six-day meet. One might be forgiven for letting up on the gas just a little if one had obviously met one’s goal. Not that any of this speculation matters; he did what he came here to do, and we should all be glad that we’ll get to see him going for a Time in Berlin. That’s going to be the race to watch.
Second place went to Tunisia’s Ahmed Mathlouthi in 3:49.85. Three more Frenchmen made the Berlin squad, as their finals times were all under the qualifying standard: Anthony Pannier of Sarcelles (third place overall, 3:51.77), Damien Joly of Antibes (fourth place, 3:51.83), and Joris Bouchaut of Toulouse (fifth, 3:51.97).
Women’s 400 IM: Hungary’s Evelyn Verraszto defended her 2013 title with a 4:39.57, just about a second off last year’s time. The French national crown went to Lara Grangeon of Calédoniens who was second overall with 4:40.57. Charlotte Bonnet of Nice took third and Fantine Lesaffre of Mulhouse was fourth. Both Grangeon and Bonnet made the qualifying time for Berlin.
Women’s 50 fly: It was a repeat performance -same order as 2013, just faster- for the top four women in the 50 fly. Defending champion and French record-holder Mélanie Henique (Amiens) won in 26.29. Second through fourth went, once again, to Marie Wattel (Nice, 26.71), Béryl Gastadello (Marseille, 26.74), and Anna Santamans (Nice, 26.82). All four qualified for Berlin.
Men’s 50 fly: Florent Manaudou (Marseille) picked up his first win of the meet with a 23.25 in the 50 fly. His time was a tick off his second-place swim from last year, but it was good enough to land him a spot on the Berlin team. In the absence of Fred Bousquet, who is recovering from surgery, the top four finishers were the same as in 2013. Manaudou’s Marseille teammates Mehdy Metella (second, 23.77), Fabien Gilot (third, 23.84), and Yoris Grandjean (fourth, 24.13) also qualified for Berlin in the 50 fly.