French Swimming Names Lionel Horter New Technical Director

The French Swimming Federation has named Lionel Horter as the new technical director this week, as he’ll leave his post as the head coach of Mullhouse Olympic Natation.

The 47-year old Horter will have big shoes to fill in place of Christian Donze, who passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on October 21st from a heart attack while mountain biking. During his four-year tenure, Donze led French Swimming from a country with a small, elite group to a country with exploding international-level depth and their best-ever Olympic performance in 2012.

Horter’s successes followed those of Donze; when Donze took over the role of Technical Director in 2009, Horter was given the additional duties of coordinating the National Team coaches for Olympic and World Championship squads.

Unlike Donze, Horter comes mostly from a background of coaching, whereas Donze had spent a significant amount of time in regional and national administration roles before taking over as the Technical Director for the 5 aquatics disciplines. Among Horter’s best-known charges as swimmers are Amaury Leveaux and Sebastian Rouault. Leaveaux has a total of 4 Olympic medals, including as a member of France’s gold medal winning 400 free relay in London; Rouault is credited with 32 French National Titles and swam collegiately for Georgia. He also briefly worked with Laure Manaudou in 2008.

He also coached for a time 2000 Olympic silver medalist and former World Champion Roxana Maracineau, who specialized in the backstrokes: one of the strongest events in the modern French team.

Interestingly, Horter, who is a former 14-time National Champion of France, is personally sponsored by TYR, just as is the French federation. France is one of the last major countries where TYR has a strong swimming foothold; their 4 remaining pool federations are France, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland.

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7 years ago

The TYR connection is obvious. His brother Franck, a former national champion in his own right, is the director for TYR in Europe and Africa.

Congratulations to Lionel on an honor well deserved. He comes from a rich swimming backround and I want to wish him nothing but the best.

7 years ago

Congratulations Lionel! I know you will bring a ton of knowledge and passion to French Swimming!

7 years ago

Other news from French swimming. Results from Golden Lanes in Nice in long course.. Yannick Agnel : 15.16.86 in the 1500 free and more impressive, a 1.46.11 in the 200 free. It seems he works his endurance perhaps to play with Sun Yang in the 400 free and the 800 free in the next years. Already during the last short course season he swam the long distances very often. I believed like many swimming fans and experts it would be the total opposite in the future. Now it looks more like a 200 free/400 free/800 free schedule. It’s too early to say the 100 free isn’t his top goal anymore but it’s an interrogation. About his 200 free it’s like… Read more »

Philip Johnson
Reply to  bobogigi
7 years ago

very exciting news to see Agnel moving up the distances. would love to see him take on the 400!

Reply to  Philip Johnson
7 years ago

I don’t know if he’ll swim them in the world meets. It’s just a fact that he swims more and more longer distances since London. And he has broken the 400 free world record in short course last November. But perhaps he will be back at his traditional schedule this summer in Barcelona with the 100 free and the 200 free. I don’t know. There’s a big interrogation.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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