SAINT RAPHAEL, France, April 17. YANNICK Agnel, just 17 years old, has definitely made a mark on the international scene. Earlier this year, he clocked a world-best effort of 1:46.83 in the men's 200 free during a meet in Nancy in March. That effort came up a bit short of Amaury Leveaux's French record of 1:46.54 set in 2008.
Tonight at the French Long Course Nationals held in Saint Raphael, Agnel finally beat the record with a 1:46.35 during semis. Jeremy Stravius (1:48.27), Clement Lefert (1:48.79) and Ahmed Mathlouthi (1:48.94) qualified well behind Agnel for the finale.
Belarus' Svetlana Khokhlova claimed the women's 50 back title in 29.22 to open the night. Alexianne Castel placed second in 29.39, while Cloe Credeville took third in 29.42. Russia's Alena Alekseeva followed in the women's 200 breast with a victorious time of 2:28.38. Fanny Babou touched second in 2:29.54, while Coralie Dobral pocketed third in 2:30.02.
Kim Vandenberg of the U.S. surfaced triumphant from a near deadheat of three swimmers in the women's 100 fly finale. Vandenberg posted a time of 59.17 for the win, while Aurore Mongel earned second in 59.20. Sophie De Ronchi completed the podium with a third-place 59.22. Mongel had the two fastest times of the meet with a 58.58 during semis and a 59.01 in prelims.
Eric Ress led the way in the men's 200 back semis with a strong time of 1:58.58. That swim moved Ress up to eighth in the world rankings this year. Benjamin Stasiulis was the only other swimmer to clear 2:00 with a 1:59.28.
Venezuela's Albert Subirats paced the men's 100 fly semifinal round with a 52.77 putting him among the top 15 swimmers in the world rankings this year. Francois Heersbrandt (53.49) and Fred Bousquet (53.51) qualified second and third.
Camille Muffat (1:58.31) and Coralie Balmy (1:58.55) set up what should be an interesting finale in the women's 200 free. Meanwhile, Ophelie-Cyrielle Etienne (1:59.27) and Margaux Farrell (1:59.96) also cleared 2:00 in the semifinal round.