Explanation of French Olympic Qualifying: Swimmers must ultimately pass under the FINA A-time in finals to earn an individual swim for the 2012 Olympics, but in many events there are certain standards that need to be met in each of the earlier rounds as well, so no loafing through prelims is allowed. Swimmers, even if they don’t hit those intermediary times, can still earn relay swims by winning in finals, where applicable. The French Federation does have the ability to make exceptions, but is generally very strict.
For a full list of French Olympic Qualifying Standards, go to this handbook and scroll to page 3. NL = Freestyle, Dos = Backstroke, Brasse = Breaststroke, Papillon = Butterfly, 4N = IM.
On the 6th day of the 2012 French Olympic Trials, a pair of Manaudou’s looked very good, and yet another National Record went down. Things are really heating up in Dunkerque despite a slow start to the meet.
Men’s 200 Back – Final
Olympic Qualification: Finals-1:58.48
Benjamin Stasulius had the swim-of-his life in the finals of this men’s 200 backstroke with a 1:56.39 to break the National Record that was set by the now-retired Pierre Roger in 2009. That’s the 2nd-fastest time in the world and cut another second off of his swim from the semi’s.
From Stasulius’ thrill to Ress’ disappointment, Indiana collegiate swimmer Eric Ress touched in an identical mark to his semi-finals swim of 1:58.78. That left him just three tenths of a second away from making the French Olympic Team in his final attempt. That has to be tough after he gave up a college season to swim at this meet.
Women’s 200 Backstroke – Semi’s
Olympic Qualifications – Finals 2:10.84
Laure Manaudou continued her successful comeback meet by taking the top seed headed into the 200 back final in a safe 2:10.88. She, like much of the rest of the field, coasted through a semi-final without a qualifying standard (it took only a 2:17 to push into the top 8). Now, they will all need to be faster in finals if they wish to stamp more passports for London. The favorite in this race probably still stands as Alexianne Castel, who was 4th in this round in 2:13.57. Both her and Manaudou should be under 2:10 in the finals.
Another Indiana swimmer, Justine Ress, was 7th in 2:17.01 and will swim in the final.
Men’s 50 Free – Semi’s
Laure may not be the only Manaudou in London after younger brother Florent Manaudou took the top seed in the 50 free semi-final in 21.86, which is his best time by half-a-second. Behind him is the legendary Fred Bousquet in 22.02. He didn’t qualify for the 400 free relay, and so this will be his big shot at the Olympics. He’s being chased, however, by the likes of Amaury Leveaux, who has been awesome at this meet, and the veterans Fabien Gilot and Alain Bernard. In a race like this, no positions are safe until the final touch.
Women’s 100 Free – Finals
Olympic Qualification – Finals-54.57
Laure Manaudou decided to put her focus for the Olympics wholly on the backstroke races, and sat out a potential spot in this 400 free relay. The same goes for Camille Muffat, who is the country’s best sprinter but prefers to swim the 200 and 400 without much concern for this relay. It will be curious to see if either of them will be opted onto the squad in London.
As it is, none of the entered competitors will have an individual swim in this race, though at least 16-year old Charlotte Bonnet (55.43) and Mylene Lazare (55.50) should be assure of relay swims. Behind them are a pair of Margaux’z: Margaux Fabre (56.26) and Margaux Farrell (56.32) who will have to wait out the decisions on this relay for their Olympic tickets.
Full Meet Results available here.