French Olympic Trials, Day 5: Malia Metella Breaks French Record in 100m Free, Clocks 54.73

By Fred Vergnoux

DUNKERQUE, France, April 22. MALIA Metella shattered the French national record in the 100 free semifinals to highlight Day 5 of the French national Championships and Olympic Trials in Dunkerque. She touched in 54.73 seconds.

During the first semifinal, the sprinter from Pacoussine confirmed her position as one of the top sprinters in the world at the moment. With 54.73, Metella erased the old record set in 1989 by Olympic medalist Catherine Plewinski.

On the men's side, short course 50 meter freestyle world record-older Fred Bousquet won the 100 with a solid 49.39, qualifying for Athens.

Women's 50 backstroke (final)
Racing a lot of events but still in good shape, Laure Manaudou won her third national title in the 50 back with a 29.11. Second was Alexandra Putra of Toulouse in 29.53, while third place went to Sarah Price from England in 29.63.

Men's 200 breastroke (final)
The British breaststrokers are too fast for the French. After recording a lifetime best at the British Trials, Ian Edmond swam a great 2.13.18 here tonight, winning ahead of Hugue Duboscq of Le Havre, second in 2.14.51. Third was Stephan Perrot of CS Clichy 92 in 2.15.22. The French team had three swimmers under the cut for the European Champs, but only two will swim the 200 in Madrid, and none made the Olympic standard.

Women's 200 fly (final)
Georgina Lee from England won the final in 2.09.80, leading from start to finish. Second was Olympic qualifier Aurore Mongel of Mulhouse in 2.11.68, a time that makes the cut for the European champs but not the Olympics. Third came Lauren Destiny in 2.13.39.

Men's 100 freestyle (final)
Fred Bousquet confirmed he is world-class in the freestyle sprint events. After a 6-week taper, Fred of CS Clichy 92 won the intense race in 49.39. The surprise came when Amaury Leveaux of Mulhouse took second place in 49.83 ahead of Romain Barnier of Antibes in 49.85. Barnier was the only one to swam the Olympic standard in the semifinals, so he confirmed his visa for Athens. Bousquet will swim the relay but the federation has to consider his ‘case,’ as he swam under the cut twice, but not in the semifinals as is required.

Women 4×200 freestyle (final)
Once again, the British team led by Marshall was too strong for any French club. With 8.00.64, the Brits posted the fastest time in the world in 2004, only 5.07 seconds off the world record set in 1987 by the German team. Only Alena Popchanka tried to keep up the pace on the first leg. Her team, the CS Clichy 92, came second in 8.20.38. Third was the team from Tours in 8.33.19.

During the semis, only Malia Metella went under the Olympic standard with her new French record. She will have to finish in the top two to confirm her visa to race the 100 freestyle in Athens. Popchanka went 55.71, Figues swam a personnal best time of 55.81.

James Goddard of England went a fast 1.58.94 in the 200 backstroke. Frenchman Simon Dufour posted the second time in 2.00.08, and Briain's Gregor Tait the third time in 2.00.76. A final to watch tomorrow evening.

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