French Olympic Trials, Day 2: Manaudou, Bousquet Set National Records

By Fred Vergnoux

DUNKERQUE, France, April 19. DURING the second day of the French Olympic Trials, the crowd saw some impressive times. “Tonight was a really exiting evening for our swimmers,” said national director Claude Fauquet.

"We got Laure Manaudou going into the Olympic Games with a new French record in 4.08.72, getting the second spot in the world. Mongel and Metella confirmed the Olympic qualification set up yesterday in the 100 butterfly, going 59’s again in the final tonight. We have four swimmers qualified for the Olympic Games so far, we plan on getting two more tomorrow”.

Men's 50m fly (final)

Still unshaven, Fred Bousquet was again faster than anyone else during the first final of the day. Taking only one breath, the swimmer from the CS Clichy 92 went 23.98 for 50 meters fly, improving his fresh French record by 0.08 seconds. Second place went to Briton Todd Cooper in 24.44, while Algeria's Salim Iles, from Racing Club, was third with a personal best in 24.47

Women's 100m fly (final)
Aurore Mongel from Mulhouse celebrated her 22nd birthday with a win on the last stroke of the 100 fly, going 59.51 ahead of Alena Popchanka from Clichy 92. Popchanka, a Belorussian who led the entire race, missed her finish and touched in 59.65. Malia Metella from Pacoussines took the third place in 59.78. The two French girls confirmed in this final their spots for Athens.

Men's 100m breaststroke (final)
Having set a new French record during the prelims (currently the third time in the world), Hugues Duboscq from Le Havre controlled the boys from Great Britain in tonight's final. He won the gold in 1.00.90, getting his first individual qualification for the Olympic Games. Taking the silver was Britain's James Gibson in 1.00.99, while the bronze went to teammate Darren Mew in 1.01.32.

Women's 400m freestyle (final)
Laure Manaudou from Melun improved her French record set up in January by a quarter of a second. clocking 4.08.72 and earning her ‘visa’ for Athens and her first Olympic Games. Rebecca Cooke from Great Britain swam a solid 4.10.30 for the second spot Third in 4:11.91 was Costa Rica's Claudia Poll, who chose the French nationals for her competitive comeback after a two-year doping suspension.

Men's 4x100m freestyle relay (final)
The CS Clichy team produced a fast 3.20.30, which is the second best time in the world this year and a new French record. Bousquet led off in 50.02, followed by Teinturier 50.73, Sicot 49.21 and Borguesi 50.34.

France will have to count on those four swimmers to fight for two spots in the individual 100 meter freestyle on Wednesday.

“Both the women's and men's relays show the level of our club,” said president-manager Gerard Durant. “I would like to see the CS Clichy 92 competing with the top club in the world during an official meet.” The Racing Club was second in 3.24.12 with Iles leading off in 49.60, third was Rouen in 3.24.21.

During the semifinals, three French swimmers went under the Olympic cut. In the 100 backstroke for women, Manaudou went 1.01.23 and Putra from Toulouse 1.02.01. In the 100 backstroke for men, French record-holder ierre Roger went 55.53. They will have to finish in the top three in the final to confirm the qualification for Athens.

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