Thanks to bobo gigi for tracking down the video.
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.