Eric Ress
Courtesy of: Peter H. Bick
CHARTRES, France, April 13. ERIC Ress put himself in position for a spot on the European championship team, winning the 200 back to put a close to the French long course championships.

Ress, fresh off completing his collegiate swimming career at Indiana University in the United States, looks to have his best chance at international racing in the 200 back, and won that title today with a 1:58.61. He just made the global top 20 rankings, and will need a faster swim in Berlin to win a medal, if he is named to the European championship team. Placing second was Benjamin Stasiulis with a 2:00.00, after leading at the 100-meter mark and staying within eight tenths of Ress after 150 meters. Florian Joly was third in 2:01.44.

Camille Muffat and Coralie Balmy put up respectable times in the 400 freestyle final, with Muffat winning the national title in 4:07.14 to Balmy's 4:08.90. Muffat sits just outside the top 10, as her time ranks 11th in the global standings. Evelyn Verraszto of Hungary was well back with a third-place time of 4:15.09.

Mehdy Metella and Jeremy Stravius battled for the right to be named the country's top butterflier, a position that used to belong to Florent Manaudou before he focused mostly on sprint freestyle. After a 24.62 that put him two tenths ahead of Metella at the 50-meter mark, Stravius was unable to seal the deal. Metella won the title with a 52.56 to Stravius' 52.78. In a crowded global field that already includes at least 10 swims between 52.5 and 52.8, Metella stands 15th in the world, while Stravius is 19th. Camille Lacourt rounded out the top three with a 53.64.

Coralie Dobral and Fanny Deberghes were nearly stroke for stroke throughout the women's 200 breast final, never more than seven tenths apart after 50 meters. Dobral took the title with a 2:30.49 to Deberghes' 2:30.80. Given the recent world record scare by Rikke Moller Pedersen earlier today, it would appear France has a major mountain to climb to get into serious medal contention in the European championships.

Manaudou won the men's 50 breast final with a 27.66 to the 27.70 by Giacomo Dortona. Manaudou now finds him in the top 10 in the event with a ninth-place time, while Dortona is 14th in the world. Eddie Moueddene placed third with a 28.61. In the women's 50 back final, Beryl Gastaldello won with a 28.73. Mathilde Cini (28.83) and Camille Gheorghiu (28.95) rounded out the top three.

Results: French long course nationals, day 6

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