French Long Course Nationals in Chartres: Day One Wrap-Up

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.

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bobo gigi
6 years ago

Quotes from Agnel, Bowman and Manaudou. Without Google Translate! Sorry for the possible translation errors. 🙂 Agnel “I had to start fast, as I did, go in 1.50 at the half-race and then hold on if possible. I’m not so fresh but I qualified. Perhaps I was a little too crazy fast in the first 100 but it’s the 200 free swimmer who speaks. I still have much to learn in the 400 free. I think of a possible world or olympic gold medal one day.” Bowman “I don’t like the time but he did the job. He goes to Berlin, no? Ok. I expected more a time of 3.46 but what I expected is not important. He should be… Read more »

6 years ago

I’m thinking that he didn’t taper at all. Expecting huge drops at euros

Reply to  Pvdh
6 years ago

I don’t believe it. Ask Bobo if he looks shaved. I am sure he was rested and prepared to swim fast. Too much on the line to prove himself, as does Bowman.

bobo gigi
Reply to  korn
6 years ago

Yes. He looks shaved. He’s rested but it will be better throughout the week.
Again, Lotte Friis was very slow 1 or 2 weeks ago in Denmark so perhaps there’s a NBAC tactic. I don’t know.
The times required this year by the French federation to qualify are very slow. For example it was 3.53 in the men’s 400 free. So perhaps they are only there to qualify.
But I’m not convinced. I’m sure Agnel wants to swim fast at home.
We’ll see what happens today in the 200 free.
If he doesn’t swim 1.45 low, I think both Agnel and Bowman will be very disappointed.

Reply to  bobo gigi
6 years ago

I often criticized countries who put up really tough qualifying times (such as the Australians who put up ridiculous stupid fast qualifying times last week) , however in the case of France I see them in the opposite direction: extremely easy qualifying times 😀

3:53 to qualify for euros? A barely turned 14 yo Thorpe from 17 years ago in speedo banana hammock with bad start and no underwater would have aced 3:53.

I wonder how/what the French based the qualifying times on.

6 years ago

There were some pretty awesome swims in Italy at their trials today. Pellegrini 4:04 400m free and two guys under the European record in the 800 free. Gabriele Detti 7:42.74, Gregorio Paltrinieri 7:43.01

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/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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