Gastaldello Breaks Championship Record in 50 Back but Misses Worlds Cut

2019 French Elite National Championships– 50M

Day 4: Friday 19 April 2019

Women’s 50 Backstroke

  • FINA “A” cut: 28.22
  • Time to achieve in prelims to qualify for Worlds: 27.81
  • French record: 27.86 – Béryl Gastaldello (CN Marseille) – 04/08/2018 – Glasgow (GBR)

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Béryl Gastaldello – 27.88
  2. Lila Touili – 28.52
  3. Pauline Mahieu – 28.92
  4. Mathilde Jean – 29.25
  5. Mathilde Cini – 29.28
  6. Alexe Herthe – 29.55
  7. Laurine Del’homme – 29.66
  8. Amel Melih – 29.80

In prelims of the women’s 50 backstroke, French swimmer Béryl Gastaldello, who lives in College Station and trains with the postgrad group at Texas A&M University, broke the Championship Record with 27.88. Just 2/100 shy of her National Record and well under the FINA “A” cut in the event, Gastaldello missed satisfying the French Federation’s qualifying criteria by .07.

According to the French qualifying rules for 2019 World Championships, Gastaldello needed to break her own National Record in prelims with a 27.81, and then finish among the top 2 in finals, to be able to swim the event at Gwangju.

Although swimming lights out at this meet, Gastaldello has had a few glitches in her efforts to qualify for Worlds. She came into the meet without a seed time in the 100 fly on Day 1 and the 100 back on Day 2 and was thus in the first prelims heat in both those events. While she swam a FINA “A” cut in prelims of the 100 fly (58.46), she missed the French standard by .16. She did, however, hit that time in finals with a Championship Record of 57.69.

The next day, Gastaldello went 1:00.59 in heat 1 of prelims in the 100 back, equaling the FINA “A” standard but falling short of the French requirement of 1:00.42. However, there was an issue at the beginning of her race (the starter called “on your marks” twice) and Gastaldello successfully argued that she had been put at a disadvantage vis-à-vis the following heats. The National Technical Director agreed to her appeal and allowed her a second chance to hit 1:00.42, in finals. Gastaldello won the event with 1:00.07, taking a full 1/10 off her previous best time.


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ocean swammer
1 year ago

If she’s going to World’s to swim the 100 back, why not let her swim the 50 back and 100 fly as well? She is the top French swimmer in these other events, and she will already be at the meet. This really doesn’t make sense.

Prison MIke
Reply to  ocean swammer
1 year ago

France was lucky to have incredible swimmers over the past decade, Lacourt, Stravius, Bernard, Gilot, Manaudou (2x), Bousquet, Muffat, Leveaux, Metella, Lefert, Agnel, Dubosq and others. They’re very elitist and have come to set very high expectations ever since the London Olympics. Unfortunately, the new generation isn’t quite up to the standard that those athletes have set. France is waiting for their next big champion at the moment, there isn’t anyone who’s likely to step up though at the moment. The FFN has had a history of making controversially fast qualifying times for big competitions, where they’ve had to lower them later in order to allow their best swimmers to compete. They expect their athletes to be at their fastest… Read more »

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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