Romain Barnier Interview: I took what I thought was the best of Auburn

Last October, Anne Lepesant sat down with former Auburn University swimmer and French Olympian Romain Barnier to talk about the state of French swimming, present and future. As we head into the 2016 French Elite Nationals and Olympic Trials from March 29 to April 3, it’s worth watching this one again.

Barnier is head coach of Cercle des Nageurs de Marseille and France’s National Men’s Team Director. It is worth watching the interview again as we head into the 2016 French Elite Long Course National Championships and Olympic Trials in Montpellier.

Barnier was influenced heavily by his time at Auburn under David Marsh; ten years ago he took what he learned there and applied it to Marseille and has seen excellent results ever since, attracting more and more elite swimmers every year.

Barnier’s Marseille is focused on both individual and group success. Three coaches work with six athletes at a time, and are acutely aware of what each swimmer needs to meet his or her goals. Barnier also explains France’s success in the 4×100 free relay, and talks about the future of French swimming.


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Interesting interview. It s true that relays were never a discipline of great interest in France, partly because there was no strong college participation, not enough top level swimmers and culturally, is was not in our blood.

The key obstacle remains the need to finance a sport which has relatively few fans compared to soccer, rugby or even basketball.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

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