The French Federation published on its Facebook page this morning the video of Laure Manaudou‘s historic 400 meter freestyle, swum 10 years ago today, at the 2006 French Elite Long Course Nationals in Tours.
The French distance swimmer had broken the European record in the distance two summers earlier at age 17 when she won the gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens with 4:05.34, but Janet Evans’ 1988 world mark of 4:03.85 eluded Manaudou. She made it a personal priority, and after a difficult 2005, she approached the 2005-06 season with renewed vigor. She and then-coach Philippe Lucas worked on her upfront speed and she finally broke 2:00 in the 200 meter free that spring.
In Tours, Manaudou planned to go for the record. Lucas invited the Romanian Camilla Potec to the meet to serve as Manaudou’s rabbit, but Potec failed to qualify for the final. All alone, Manaudou took it out very quickly. She was more than 2 seconds under Evans’ pace at the halfway mark, but seemed to have fallen off over the second half of the race. With the crowd on its feet, Manaudou finished the last 50 with renewed vigor and smashed through to 4:03.03, taking a .82 chunk out of the world mark.
Here are the comparative 100s splits:
|Laure Manaudou 2006||Janet Evans 1988|
|2:00.00 (1:01.70)||2:02.14 (1:02.15)|
|3:02.07 (1:02.07)||3:03.40 (1:01.26)|
|4:03.03 (1:00.96)||4:03.85 (1:00.45)|