SAINT RAPHAEL, France, April 16. THE French Long Course Nationals have produced some of the top times in the world this year across the board, but no single event has been as impacted as the men's 100 free.
The finale of the men's 100 free certainly proved to be swift, but not nearly as fast as prelims and semis might have indicated. Yesterday, four swimmers cleared 49 seconds with Alain Bernard leading the way with a top-ranked effort of 48.32. Tonight, Fabien Gilot stood atop the mountain with a winning 48.52. Bernard, meanwhile, settled for second in 49.04. William Meynard (49.18), Boris Steimetz (49.29), Fred Bousquet (49.34), Amaury Leveaux (49.35), Yannick Agnel (49.51) and Gregory Mallet (49.57) comprised the rest of the final.
Camille Muffat leapfrogged Emily Seebohm into third in the world rankings in the women's 200 IM tonight. After moving into the top five with a 2:10.94 during semis, Muffat blazed the field in the finale tonight with a 2:10.48. That swim moved her ahead of Seebohm's time of 2:10.75 from last month. Stephanie Rice (2:10.07) and Ariana Kukors (2:10.34) are the only swimmers faster than Muffat in the event this year. Lara Grangeon picked up second tonight with a 2:14.20, while Sophie De Ronchi placed third in 2:15.23.
Alexianne Castel won the women's 100 back with a 1:00.66 to improve her grip on the eighth-ranked time in the world this year. Previously, she stood eighth with a 1:00.87. She still has some work to do to clear Miyuki Takemura (1:00.46) and Shiho Sakai (1:00.62). Alexandra Putra grabbed second in 1:02.05, while Cloe Credeville took third in 1:02.22.
Hugues Duboscq had more than enough in the finale to win the men's 200 breast ahead of Kristopher Gilchrist. Duboscq put up a 2:12.38 for the win, showing remarkable consistency with 2:12s throughout the meet (2:12.82p; 2:12.25sf). Gilchrist finished second in 2:13.52, while William Debourges claimed third in 2:15.11.
Christophe Lebon demonstrated similar consistency in the men's 200 fly. He won the event title in 1:58.88 after posted times of 1:58.66 (prelims) and 1:58.98 (semis) throughout the qualification process. Nuno Quintanilha finished second in 1:59.20, while Thomas Vilaceca wound up third in 1:59.51.
Sebastien Rouault cruised to victory in the men's 400 IM with a top time of 4:17.75. That performance ranked him ninth in the world this year. Anthony Pannier finished second in 4:21.61, while Taki M'Rabet snatched third in 4:25.35.
Aurore Mongel posted the top time in the women's 100 fly semifinal round with a 58.58. That effort moved her from 19th in the world to 10th. Magali Rousseau qualified second in 59.20, while Kim Vandenberg of the U.S. was the only other sub-1:00 qualifier with a third-seeded 59.35.
Russia's Alena Alekseeva led qualifying in the women's 200 breast semis with a 2:27.77. Coralie Dobral (2:29.81) and Fanny Babou (2:29.89) will provide Alekseeva some French competition for the open title tomorrow.