One day after Freddie Bousquet has again established himself as the fastest French sprinter, we must ask ourselves, are National Olympic Trials the “ideal” way to select the teams, which in turn go head-to-head at the Olympic Games…?
With just a quick glance, he shares many of the same facial characteristics and gestures of his older sister. However, once released into the racing arena, the differences between Florent Manaudou and his sister Laure are quickly seen! The aforementioned being an absolute speedster in the water–any stroke; the latter, excelling in the middle distance freestyle and backstroke events. They have both fallen upon recent success by each qualifying individually for the French Olympic Team, and representing the Gaul at this summer’s swimming extravaganza in London.
Some might say, “where did little brother come from”….(actually, not so little; Florent stands at 1.99m (6’5”) and weighs 87kg (192lbs)). In fact, “Flo” has been on a successful swimming journey for some time now. The most important leap came last year (April 2011) when Florent left the side of his longtime coach and older brother Nicolas (yep, another Manaudou). He headed south, to the hot-spot training center in Marseille. This move was, of course, in order to better prepare for the French Nationals; this competition acted as the selection trials for Worlds in Shanghai. And prepare he did! He qualified for China– and as his first International Competition ever, Florent made a huge statement with a fifth place finish in the 50m butterfly (ironically just behind his brother-in-law, Freddie Bousquet).
Training in Marseille under the guidance of Romain Barnier (Auburn schooled) and former British super-breaststroker James Gibson (50m breaststroke World Champ circa 2003), Florent will represent his country in the 50m freestyle at the London Olympic Games. Furthermore, after finishing just behind his bro-in-law in China, looks like the former world record holder Mr. Bousquet will be cheering on his wife in her events, and bro-in-law in what was known as Fred’s “pet” event!
Be prepared to see a lot more of Florent Manaudou. With a best time of 21.86 in the 50m free, he has also posted a 23.31 in the 50m fly, 25.39 in the 50m back and a quick 28.47 50m breast…A guy with that kind of speed could be awfully dangerous in a 200 medley if he ever decides to branch out.
Chris Morgan is a swimming coach in search of the next pool, the next set, and the most creative workouts. Follow him on Twitter @swim4chris