RACE VIDEO: Florent Manaudou is Dolphin Kicking His Way to 50 Free Dominance

Thanks to bobo gigi for tracking down the video.

Full day 1 recap here.

Since swimming a lifetime best (21.32) in the 50 long course meter free at last year’s European Champs, French star Florent Manaudou has been almost unstoppable. In December, he broke the World Record in short course meters, and in 2015 he has yet to lose a long course final in the 50 free.

Manaudou ran that streak to 6-straight meets on Friday at the Sette Colli Trophy in Rome by posting a 21.64 and breaking the Meet Record.

The way Manaudou has been so good is a little contrary to the trend we’re seeing in men’s sprint freestyling: he’s doing it with big underwaters. This is not something new for him: when he won Olympic gold in 2012 in this event, he was the last swimmer up (video of that race below).

In London, however, he was coming up last but behind the leaders; this year, he’s been earning most of his margins on those underwaters and coming up half-a-body length ahead.

While the fields haven’t quite been Olympic class, they’ve still been very good (owed in part to his own country’s depth in the event, and in part to some visitors from Italy and the like for these meets). He won’t be quite as dominant underwater in Rio as he’s been in Rome, Nice, and so-on this year, but there are still clear improvements in his underwaters, and that’s perhaps an explanation for his ability to be so consistent in-season.

Friday’s race is above, Olympic final is below, courtesy of the IOC.


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Kurt Wienants
7 years ago

I hope his shoulders hold up with that windmill slappy stroke technique.

Team Rwanda
7 years ago

He is now doing 15m underwaters FASTER than in London. He will not be far ahead after 15m at Rio but he won’t be behind everyone either because he improved.

7 years ago

The dude is roughly 4.9-5.1 to 15…tht is simply absurd and gives him a massive advantage. Most other world class swimmers are anywhere from 5.4 to 6.0

7 years ago

This guy has the start of Brad Tandy but then he’s a monster athlete on top of the water, unstoppable.

7 years ago

I believe this was a complete test run for him, he wanted to see if using the underwaters may be more effective in races to come. Just more racing practice under his belt, very good time none the less.

7 years ago

That’s one ugly windmilly slappy stroke technique, but he sure is consistently fast. Funny how strokes change over the years.

7 years ago

No substance to this article at all. In 2012 he went 15m underwater, now he goes 15m underwater….. So what? You even note that his underwaters won’t appear as dominant against the Rio field.

7 years ago

If you look at the next generation of sprinters like Ryan Hoffer, they are using massive SDKs to propel them off the start and turn. Some of the “old guard” like Manadou will adapt, but I think we’ll see this be the norm for fast sprinting by Tokyo 2020, if not sooner.

Reply to  SDK
7 years ago

SDK’s ?

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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