Théo Bussière, one of France’s top breaststroke swimmers, spoke on the one-year postponement in an interview with the French Federation of Swimming. The 25-year-old has been struggling with injuries the past couple of years. With the COVID-19 pandemic and a national shelter in place in France, he is using this time to still heal and get his mind right for the now 2021 Olympic games.
“It leaves time to try to resolve this crisis, even if we do not know how we are going to get out of it all for the moment,” said Bussière, talking about the pandemic impact on the Olympics.
Bussière is unable to train at this time, but he relates to this situation as to how he dealt with his injuries.
“I think the injuries help me put things into perspective during this period. I manage to live it really well. This time, we are all in the same situation. Everyone is trying to do their best to minimize the negative impacts of stopping activity.”
Bussière’s top time came with his performance at the 2018 French Nationals Saint-Raphael with a 59.46 in the 100-meter breaststroke. He was just 23 at the time. The following year he struggled with injuries and missed the qualification standard for the 2019 Gwangju World Championships. He swam instead the 100 breaststroke at the 2019 U.S. National Championships in a time of 1:00.08 and ended up taking 4th.
The French swimmer discussed missing competition and how he felt as if he was trying to do too much in his recent races.
“In some aspects, I progressed, on others I had a little trouble getting back to my previous level. But what I remember from my year 2019 is that the best learning is competition. I feel like I haven’t had enough,” said Bussière.
Fellow countryman, Mehdy Metella, was originally planning to be out following his shoulder surgery at the beginning of 2020. The sprinter broke the French national record in the long course 100m butterfly in April of 2019, setting the new mark at 50.85. That made Metella as the 15th fastest performer all-time entering the Olympic year. Bussiere touched on his return for 2021 and the legs for their 4 X 100 medley relay.
“We all thought of Mehdy when we heard this news. He will be able to aim for Olympic qualification, hoping that he will return to his best level,” said Bussière.
In 2016, Bussière swam the preliminaries for a 4 X 100 medley French team that failed to make the finals at the Rio Olympics. With that being said, we can look ahead to the possible medley quartet at next year’s games, something that is touched on in the interview.
Bussière was a full second ahead of all other French swimmers with that 1:00.08 in the 100m breaststroke last year. Antoine Viquerat was the second fastest with a 1:01.08.
Metella returning from injury will make him a strong option for either swimming freestyle or butterfly on the relay. With Jérémy Stravius retiring, the next fastest flyers behind Metella are two seconds slower. Nans Roch has the closest time with a 52.87.
Yohann Ndoye Brouard (53.80) and Mewen Tomac (54.17) are the two top French backstrokers from the past year. Swimmers Clément Mignon (48.20), Maxime Grousset (48.56), and Florent Manadou (48.67) are potential relay candidates for the freestyle leg. Mignon split a 47.87 on the 4 X 100 Free relay in 2016.