CHARTRES, France, April 9. THE second day of the French long course nationals featured an exciting four-way battle in the menâ€™s 100 backstroke to fill three potential spots on the European championship squad.
Camille Lacourt, who won the European title in 2010, took the race today with a 53.73. His 2011 co-world champion, Jeremy Stravius, was second with a 53.86. The two werenâ€™t far off the times they posted last summer in the final of the event at the world championships, and the two rank ninth and 11th globally so far in 2014.
Benjamin Stasiulis was third with a 54.83 to potentially get a chance to swim at the European championships, while Eric Ress was fourth in 55.25.
Three men battled for the win in the 100 breaststroke, with Giacomo Dortogna getting the win with a 1:01.20. After a 28.38 split that had him seven tenths ahead of the field, Dortogna was nearly passed in the final strokes by Thomas Dahlia and Quentin Coton. Dahlia finished second with a 1:01.60 while Coton was third with a 1:01.88.
Two other finals were contested today. Anthony Pannier took the menâ€™s 800 freestyle in 7:56.11. Joris Bouchaut made a push in the final half of the race but settled for second with a 7:57.53. Axel Reymond took third in a 7:58.45 to round out the swimmers under eight minutes in the event.
Cloe Credeville took the French national title in the 200 backstroke, posting a 2:12.55. Fantine Lesaffre was second with a 2:13.63 and Justine Ress placed third with a 2:14.91.
Olympic and world champion Yannick Agnel cruised through the semifinals of the 200 freestyle today, qualifying second with a 1:48.42 behind Gregory Malletâ€™s 1:48.27. Agnel definitely swam in a low gear today, as heâ€™ll be looking to surpass the 1:45.76 he posted in January as his fastest time of the year. Cameron McEvoy sits at the top of the world rankings with a 1:45.46 from last weekâ€™s Australian nationals.
The Verraszto siblings from Hungary led the way in two semifinal races. Evelyn posted a 59.65 to take lane four in tomorrowâ€™s 100 fly final ahead of Camille Muffatâ€™s 59.69. The other sub-1:00 swim of the day was a 59.75 from Marie Wattel for third place. David Verraszto took the top seed in the semifinals of the 200 IM with a 2:01.06, two seconds ahead of the 2:03.45 by Jeremy Desplanches.
Muffat stepped up for another semifinal race today, cruising through the 100 free with a 54.73. The Nice Natation swim club took the top four qualifying spots, with Anna Santamans (55.20), Charlotte Bonnet (55.42) and Cloe Hache (55.67) also in the final.
Bonnet was the top swimmer in the womenâ€™s 100 breast semifinal with a 1:09.48 for the only swim under 1:10 today. Claire Politâ€™s 1:10.18 puts her on the verge of breaking 1:10 in tomorrowâ€™s final as the second seed.