CHARTRES, France, April 11. WITH France looking to extend its global dominance in the 400 free relay to three straight years, all eyes were on todayâ€™s menâ€™s 100 free semifinal at the French long course nationals.
No one swam particularly fast in the semifinals, but three of the four who won gold at the 2012 Olympics and 2013 world championships sailed into the final. Florent Manaudou nabbed the top seed with a 49.01, with Yannick Agnel second in 49.25. Fabien Gilot was the sixth-fastest qualifier with a 49.95, but possibly Mehdy Metella will get into the top four with a third-ranked time of 49.27. The missing swimmer from those winning relays is Jeremy Stravius, who appears to be taking a break from freestyle racing this year.
Stravius did race today, placing second in the 200 butterfly final with a 1:57.73 behind the 1:56.95 swum by Jordan Coelho. Jordan now sits seventh in the world and is the top European on the list, while Straviusâ€™ swim puts him 10th in the global standings and second among Americans. Thomas Vilaceca was third in the race with a 1:58.87.
Coralie Dobral off the senior-level racing today with a 32.14 to win the womenâ€™s 50 breaststroke final over Claire Polit, who posted a 32.25 for second. Chloe Cazier was third with a 32.27.
Evelyn Verraszto had no peer in the final of the womenâ€™s 200 IM, posting a 2:11.86 to move her up to ninth in the world rankings and about a second off the yearâ€™s best by countrywoman Katinka Hosszu. Charlotte Bonnet was the top French swimmer in the final, placing second with a 2:13.33. Lara Grangeon was third with a 2:15.25. Grangeon returned to post the fastest time in the 200 fly semifinals with a 2:12.61. Babora Zavadora of the Czech Republic and Marie Wattel both qualified second with matching times of 2:13.37.
Cloe Credeville won the other womenâ€™s championship final today, posting a 1:01.98 to take the 100 back national title. Mathilde Cini took second with a 1:02.34, while Beryl Gastaldello finished third with a 1:02.37.
Joris Bouchat put together a strong final 750 meters to win the menâ€™s mile with a 15:08.65. He pulled away from the rest of the field in the back half of the race, including runner-up Damien Joly, who posted a 15:12.65. Axel Reymond was third with a 15:18.13. Notably, Bouchat does not own the fastest time by a Frenchman in 2014, as Yannick Agnelâ€™s 15:07.76 from the Grand Prix meet in Austin stands at the top.
Thomas Dahlia looked in control of the lead in the final of the menâ€™s 200 breaststroke, but managed to survive a challenge from Quentin Coton in the final 50 meters to win with a 2:11.43 to Cotonâ€™s 2:11.60. Well back in third was William Debourges with a 2:14.23.
Coralie Balmy and Camille Muffat were the only swimmers under two minutes in the 200 free semifinals today. Balmy was the top swimmer with a 1:58.82, while Muffat cruised through as well with a 1:59.52. Charlotte Bonnet qualified third with a 2:00.54.