Laure Manaudou: Autobiography Released in time for her 28th Birthday

French Olympic medalist Laure Manaudou celebrated her 28th birthday today with the release of her autobiography, “Entre les lignes,” which is a nice play on words mixing the ideas of “reading between the lines” and “swimming between the (lane) lines.”

From the interviews she has done with French television and print media, it would seem that in her book, Manaudou has been able to talk with real candor about her swimming career, the choices she made, and what she learned. To begin with, she states quite clearly that she never liked to swim. It was almost an accident that she wound up in the sport. What drove her was the love of winning –and later on, an “addiction to the podium” –and that motivated her to put in the hours training.

Manaudou-LucasShe talks about her years with Philippe Lucas, the flamboyant coach whose intractable training methods were exactly what the 14-year-old Manaudou needed at that stage of her career. When she first joined him in Melun she had never done a morning practice and the look and smell of the pool at 5:15 am wasn’t very appealing. She admits she wouldn’t have done it on her own; Lucas pushed her, he yelled, he cajoled, but to her credit she responded. “Deep down, I knew that’s what I needed,” she admits.

The formula worked, because at 17 Manaudou won Olympic gold in the 400m free at the 2004 Games in Athens. It was the first gold medal for a French swimmer since Jean Boiteux had won in 1952 at Helsinki. The more she won the more she wanted to win, and the superbly talented Manaudou stayed among the world’s best for several years.

It’s not surprising to learn Manaudou is driven by passion. It takes passion to get to, and stay at, the top of one’s sport. But as Manaudou recounts her life, passion also got in the way of sound decision-making. She admits she shouldn’t have left Lucas in 2007 and followed Italian swimmer Luca Marin to Italy. It proved to be the beginning of the end of her career in the pool.

Manaudou spent a year in the US with then-companion Frederick Bousquet when he trained at Auburn. After the birth of their daughter, Manon, Manoudou trained there too, and eventually made the 2012 French Olympic team in the 100m and 200m back, as well as the medley relay.

Manaudou retired definitively from swimming in January 2013. She says she hasn’t put her toes in the water since, and doesn’t miss it at all. When asked what she does miss, she answers, “the ready room.” She says she loved the calm of the ready room, and the fact that no one besides the competitors was there. She describes placing herself deliberately across from the “favorite,” crossing her arms, and staring her down.

Since her retirement, Manaudou has launched a line of swimwear, appeared in numerous television programs, and now written an autobiography. But her most fulfilling job is being a full-time mother to Manon.

SwimSwam wishes a happy birthday to Laure Manaudou. Bon anniversaire et bonne lecture.

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aswimfan
8 years ago

Many great and legendary swimmers cut short or derailed their career than it would have been either by their own choice or outside their own control.

And unfortunately for Laure, it was her own doing.

So many what ifs (in similar tone to my other comment about Jodie Henry who missed trainings and left Shannon Rollason)

Ozsu
8 years ago

Is an english version of the book expected to be published as well or no? I would love to read it!

8 years ago

“Manaudou retired definitively from swimming in January 2013. She says she hasn’t put her toes in the water since, and doesn’t miss it at all. When asked what she does miss, she answers, “the ready room.” She says she loved the calm of the ready room, and the fact that no one besides the competitors was there. She describes placing herself deliberately across from the “favorite,” crossing her arms, and staring her down.”

Everything about that paragraph is awesome.

Manadou. SMASH.

KP
Reply to  Hulk Swim
8 years ago

Hulk swim: I missed you. So glad your are back. SMASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gina Rhinestone
8 years ago

She has some nice bathers in her collection. I liked the aqua range for water exercise which are cleverly constructed.Her trainers are simple & elegant .

Mademoiselles do not trust les garçons avec votre reputation . Ils sont trop jealous and they will destroy you . Wait and find a man not a boy.

Bad Anon
8 years ago

Laure Manaudou had medal chances in Beijing in multiple events; 200/400/800free ,100/200back; she even had the 3rd best 200back time of 2008 (2.06.64) which would have made the podium… It was unfortunate to leave Lucas in ’07 insofar as history tells us it cost her more olympic glory; but such is life….

XMan
8 years ago

Most athletes take creatine.
I remember Gary Hall JR. Had this as a used supplement, Dara Torres, Lezak.
I took it Most college swimmers took it.

It was the difference between weight and strength or loosing 20 pounds durring high yardage season.

Learned it the hard way sophomore year of college when I didn’t take supplements.

Josh
8 years ago

Perhaps the most gifted female swimmer in recent history, and she had the work ethic to go along with the natural ability. If she had stayed the course with Lucas, she would have retired one of the most decorated female swimmers in history. She would have cleaned house in Beijing. She was absolutely destroying people. She would open her 400 free in times that would win the 200 free at US Nationals. Probably would have left China with at least two golds and five individual medals total.

Her 2007 world record swim in the 200 free is one of my favorite races of all time. Pellegrini had broken the world record in semifinals with a 1:56.4, and Annika Lurz was… Read more »

beachmouse
Reply to  Josh
8 years ago

In an alternate universe where Manaudou had stayed focused and Kate Ziegler had stayed healthy, the 800 free in Beijing would have been one for the ages.

Luigi
8 years ago

How can someone “hate” something they are so good at?

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

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