By Fred Vergnoux
DUNKERQUE, France, April 23. ON the sixth day of the French Olympic Trials, the sellout partisan crowd found plenty to cheer about.
Franck Esposito and Fred Bousquet both swam under the Olympic standard during the semifinals of the 100 fly, while Malia Metella confirmed her visa for Athens with her win in the 100 freestyle final. On another greaat day for the visiting English squad, no men were under the cut in the 50 freestyle.
Women's 200m breastroke (final)
Kirsty Balfour from England was the only swimmer under 2.30. She won the final in 2.29.68. The French breaststrokers were out-classed with Marjorie Distel a distant second in 2:34.00 and Sophie de Ronchi of Manosque third in 2.35.11.
Men's 200m backstroke (final)
After his world-leading race at the British Trials, James Goddard was the only men under two minutes tonight. He swam 1.59.27 for the gold, Simon Dufour of Montpellier swam 2.00.46 for the silver, and Gregor Tait swam 2.01.02 for the bronze. Dufour, with his French title, confirmed his qualification for the Olympic Games.
Men's 200m IM (final)
One more win for the British team with Adrian Turner in 2.02.17. Nicolas Rostoucher of Mulhouse came second in 2.03.60, and Xavier Marchand of Toulouse was third in 2.04.25. Both French swimmers were under the cut for the European Championships, but not fast enough for the Olympic standard of 2.02.41.
Women's 100m freestyle (final)
After her French record of 54.73 set during the semifinals, Malia Metella of Pacoussines had to control the final to confirm her visa for Athens. She won in 55.22, earning a second spot on the team (she had already made it in the 100 fly). Second was Aurore Mongel of Mulhouse in 55.92, a personal best. Third went to up-and-coming Celine Couderc of Ales in 56.07.
During the semifinals, Alena Popchanka of CS Clichy was the fastest in the 50 fly with 27.19. She will be surounded by Brits Brett and Chapman during tomorrow’s final. They swam 27.51 and 27.61, respectively.
James Gibson of England, the fastest man in the 50 breaststroke so far, posted 28.32 in the semifinals. Duboscq of Le Havre was second in 28.36, and Fall of Senegal came third in 28.92.
Fred Bousquet of CS Clichy 92 went 53.45 during the first semifinal of the 100 fly, and Franck Esposito of Antibes clocked a fast 52.96 during the second semifinal. Both swimmers are under the Olympic cut, but they will have to confirm their ‘visa’ tomorrow in the final.
In the semifinals of the men's 50 freestyle, the CS Clichy 92 clocked the three best times for the final: David Maitre in 22.49, Fred Bousquet in 22.79 and Julien Sicot in 22.89.