Marchand, Gastaldello & Grousset In Action During Final Day Prelims At French Championships


The final day of racing at the 2024 French Elite Championships began this morning with superstar Leon Marchand back in the water for the heats of the men’s 200m IM.

The former Arizona State University NCAA champion captured the 2nd seed in a time of 2:00.96, just .07 outside leader Enzo Tesic who landed lane 4 in 2:00.89.

Algeria’s Jaouad Syoud rounded out the top 3 performers in 2:01.53 while French backstroke aces Yohann Ndoye-Brouard (2:01.99) and Mewen Tomac (2:02.23) are also in the mix as the 5th and 7th seeds, respectively.

22-year-old Marchand is far and away the one to beat despite his casual morning outing. He owns the French national record at 1:54.82, the time he put up for gold at the 2023 World Championships. That’s over 3 seconds faster than any other Frenchman has ever been.

As for the women’s 200m IM this morning, the field was also on the subdued side with no one creeping under the 2:16 barrier.

Cyrielle Duhamel scored the top spot in 2:16.35 while versatile Olympian Charlotte Bonnet snagged the 2nd seed right behind in 2:16.62. Camille Tissandie will also flank Duhamel in tonight’s final, holding the 3rd seed in 2:17.59.

The World Aquatics Olympic Qualification Time stands at 2:11.47, a barrier that Duhamel and Bonnet have been under. The former represents France’s 3rd-fastest woman in history with a PB of 2:10.84 while the latter clocked 2:10.24 in the semi-finals at this year’s World Championships.

The men’s 100m fly added some heat to the morning prelims, with a trio of swimmers bringing performances in the 51-second zone.

The 2023 World Championships gold medalist Maxime Grousset staked his claim with a swift 51.03 to hold a healthy advantage over Mehdy Metella who notched 51.70. Clement Secchi was also part of the trio, hitting 51.72 for the 3rd seed.

Secchi already ranks among the top 25 performers in the world on the season after turning in a time of 51.38 at April’s Eindhoven Qualification Meet. Grousset’s season-best sits at the 51.47 produced at the Giant Series in March.

As for Metella, the 31-year-old is seeking some Olympic redemption after having missed the postponed Tokyo Games due to undergoing shoulder surgery in early 2020.

Finally, a battle is brewing in the women’s 50m free, with the one-lap affair becoming anyone’s race.

Beryl Gastaldello will attempt to add this event to the 100m back for which she already secured Olympic qualification.

The 29-year-old punched a field-leading 24.56 as a statement-making new lifetime best out of the heats. That hacked .26 off her previous career-quickest mark of 24.82 put up at the 2022 European Championships. Already her performance this morning renders her France’s 4th-fastest woman in history.

Melanie Heniquethe national record holder with a PB of 24.34, nabbed the 2nd seed in 24.76 and Marie Wattel cleared 24.91 to also dip under the 25-second threshold.

Wattel has already qualified for Paris in the 100m free while Henique is seeking her first individual qualifying event for next month’s Games.

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About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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