Wattel Leads 100 Free Heats, Marchand Lurks In 200 IM On Day 4 Of French Championships


We rolled into day four of the 2023 French Elite Championships with the likes of Leon Marchand, Charlotte Bonnet and Marie Wattel back in the water. As a reminder, this competition represents the sole opportunity for racers to earn qualification for next month’s World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.

21-year-old Marchand has already qualified for Fukuoka in the men’s 200m breast, 200m free and 200m fly. The Arizona State University superstar contested the 200m IM this morning, hitting a heats swim of 2:00.46 as the top French performer.

Ahead of him, however, were two foreign swimmers in the form of Swiss Olympic medalist Jeremy Desplanches and Algerian record holder Jaouad Syoud. The former notched the top time of 2:00.26 while the latter scored the 2nd seed in 2:00.41.

Marchand owns a lifetime best and the French national record of 1:55.22 in this 2IM, a performance he registered en route to earning gold at last year’s World Championships. With that in mind, the FFN-mandated qualification time of 1:58.53 should be a walk in the park for the Sun Devil.

After snagging silver in the women’s 50m free last night, 26-year-old Wattel came out ahead of the field in the 100m free this morning.

Wattel stopped the clock in a speedy result of 54.58 as the only sub-55 second racer of the pack. Beryl Gastaldello posted 55.05 and Mary-Ambre Moluh, last night’s 50m back silver medalist, rounded out the top 3 in 55.24.

Wattel’s lifetime best rests at the 53.12 she put up for 9th place at the 2020 Olympic Games. Her outing this morning represents her first venture under the 55-second threshold of 2023. Her season-best rests at the 55.04 registered at February’s Laussane Swim Cup.

The FFN-mandated QT for Fukuoka sits at 53.88, which is achievable if the top women bring their A-games.

The women’s 100m breast heats saw Bonnet land lane 4 for tonight’s final in record-breaking fashion. The 28-year-old posted a mark of 1:07.71 to slice .05 off of her previous lifetime best and French standard of 1:07.76 put on the books just this past March.

Additional Notes

  • Lilou Ressencourt put up the quickest time to lead the women’s 200m fly, touching in 2:12.37. That set her apart from the next-fastest swimmer, Tabatha Avetand (2:12.66) by less than half a second.
  • The men’s 200m back saw a trio of athletes situated under the 2:00 barrier. Antoine Harlem hit 1:58.47 for the top seed and he’ll be flanked by Christophe Braun and 100m back winner here Mewen Tomac. The former snagged the 2nd seed in 1:59.23 to the latter’s 3rd-seed-worthy effort of 1:59.99. Yohann Ndoye-Brouard lurks as the 5th seed with a morning outing of 2:00.93.
  • Kyrgyzstan swimmer Denis Patrashov was the top men’s 50m breaststroker with his result of 27.55. Aruba’s Mikel Schreuders was next in 27.60 while the top Frenchman was Carl Aitkaci who logged 27.77.

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8 months ago

When do finals start

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Miself
8 months ago

in 1 hour

8 months ago

During the first 3 competition days, Marchand always dropped about 3s from prelim to final, so I call 1:56 high or 1:57 tonight.

Last edited 8 months ago by liemse
8 months ago

Let’s hope Leon Marchand isn’t starting to wear down.

8 months ago

155low 154high

8 months ago

1:55.9 tonight

Octavio Gupta
8 months ago

Is Marchand washed?

Reply to  Octavio Gupta
8 months ago

He is just taking it easy
His splits were 25.76/29.36/34.83/30.51
We all know he is much much faster than that
He is taking it easy in prelims to go fast in finals

Reply to  Octavio Gupta
8 months ago

Washed? Are you asking if he bathed?

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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