By John Lohn
PARIS, April 8. FRANCK Esposito, one of the most accomplished 200 butterfly specialists in the world, has announced his retirement from the competitive ranks. His decision marks the end of a 15-year career at the international level.
The Frenchman, who will turn 34 in less than a week, indicated that he made his decision late last year, aware of the fact that he would find it difficult to qualify for this summer's World Championships in Montreal.
The four-time European champion in the 200 butterfly and the bronze medalist in the event at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Esposito owns the European record at 1:54.62. He was also the short-course world champ in the 200 fly in 1993.
At last summer's Athens Games, Esposito did not produce the results he would have liked in his last Olympics. Esposito walked away from Greece with an 11th-place effort in the 100 fly and a 15th-place showing in the 200 fly.