By Emily Sampl
VICHY, France, July 1. THREE days remain until the 8th French Open begins in Vichy, France, and hype is already beginning to build for some exciting matchups this weekend. Here’s a look at five of the women to watch out for at the meet.
1. Katinka Hosszu, Hungary
There may be no other swimmer in the world as tough as Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, who competes in meet after meet, weekend after weekend in multiple countries, entering at least a half dozen events and sometimes, winning them all. The swimming community has come to expect a huge workload at each and every meet from Hosszu, and the French Open will be no different. Hosszu is entered in a whopping 13 events; she’ll swim every individual event offered but the three breaststroke events, and has a great shot to win several of those. Hosszu recently won USA Swimming’s Arena Grand Prix series title, and set a new Hungarian record in the 400 free at the Monaco stop of the Mare Nostrum series a few weeks ago. Although her schedule in Vichy is massive, she can never be counted out for fast times.
2. Ranomi Kromowidjojo, The Netherlands
The 2012 double Olympic champion in the 50 and 100 freestyle events will contest her specialties in Vichy, with an opportunity to move up in the world rankings in both with the European Championships on the horizon. Kromowidjojo has posted a 24.35 in the 50 free this year, which she swam at the Eindhoven Swim Cup in April. Australia’s Cate Campbell (24.13) and Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom (24.15) are the only two swimmers ahead of her in that event. In the 100 free, she’s currently seventh in the world at 53.69, about a second off the top time of 52.68, also held by Cate Campbell.
3. Camille Muffat, France
France’s Camille Muffat is usually a factor anytime she races, and especially when the home crowd is behind her. Muffat enters the weekend having posted a couple of quick times recently, including a 4:04.58 in the 400 free and a 1:56.26 in the 200 free, both at the Canet stop of the Mare Nostrum series in June. Muffat should face some solid competition from fellow countrywoman Charlotte Bonnet in the 200 free, as Bonnet enters the meet with a top time of 1:57.00
4. Emma McKeon, Australia
One of only two Australian women attending the meet, Emma McKeon will definitely be a factor in several freestyle events this weekend. McKeon is currently ranked fifth in the world in the 100 free at 53.43, and second in the world in the 200 free at 1:55.68. Only Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom has been faster in the 200, with a 1:55.04. It should be an exciting battle between McKeon and Kromowidjojo in the 100 free, and McKeon and Muffat in the 200 free in what are most likely their final tune-ups for the Commonwealth Games and European Championships.
5. Lauren Boyle, New Zealand
New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle, who competed collegiately at the University of California, has really started to make a name for herself on the international swimming stage in recent years, and she’ll look to continue that trend this weekend. Her top times this year include a 4:06.08 in the 400 free and an 8:27.48 in the 800 free, both of which rank 12th internationally. She’ll have her work cut out for her at this meet with Muffat, McKeon, Hosszu and France’s Coralie Balmy all racing, but definitely looks to be on pace for some solid swims heading into the Commonwealth Games.