CHARTRES, France, December 3. THE French Short Course Championships featured some of the fastest times in the world this year.
Alexiane Castel set a meet record with a top-ranked swim of 2:03.01 in the women's 200 back. That time cleared her 2008 mark of 2:03.22 and far surpassed Belinda Hocking's previously top-ranked swim of 2:03.43 from the Stockholm stop of the World Cup. The Netherlands' Femke Heemskerk touched second in 2:04.47 for eighth in the rankings, while Alexandra Putra took third in 2:06.90.
Fred Bousquet gave former training partner Cesar Cielo something to think about in the men's 50 free with a sterling second-ranked time of 20.89. Cielo owns the top time in the world with a 20.80 from the Jose Finkel Trophy meet in September. Fabien Gilot took second in 21.35, while Amaury Leveaux placed third in 21.65. In the B final, Alain Bernard won in 21.62. Gilot moved to seventh in the world, while Leveaux and Bernard picked up top 15 spots.
The Netherlands' Inge Dekker cruised to victory in the women's 50 free with a 24.22, just short of her fifth-ranked season best of 24.06 from the European Short Course Championships. Camille Muffat finished second in 24.65, while Melanie Henique took third in 24.95. Dekker doubled up with a 57.02 in the women's 100 fly. Her season best is a fourth-ranked 56.51 from Euros. Diane Bui Duyet took second in 57.61, while Magali Rousseau touched third in 58.27. Bui Duyet moved to 11th in the world rankings.
Coralie Balmy won the women's 800 free in 8:18.90 to jump to sixth in the world rankings. Lara Grangeon placed second in 8:30.22, while Coralie Codeville finished third in 8:34.67. Sebastien Rouault followed in the men's 1500 free with a winning 14:53.58. He's been much faster with a second-ranked 14:37.94 from the Stockholm stop of the World Cup. Damien Joly (15:02.08) and Xavier Lepretre (15:05.61) finished second and third.
Ben Stasiulis cruised to victory in the men's 200 back with a 1:52.45. That swim pushed him to ninth in the world rankings. Jeremy Stravius finished second in 1:54.58, while Camille Lacourt touched third in 1:54.71. Sophie De Ronchi won the women's 100 breast in 1:06.20 to move into an 11th-ranked tie. Fanny Babou took second in 1:07.40, while Sara El Bekri touched third in 1:07.74.
Giacomo Perez Dortona touched out Hugues Duboscq, 58.95 to 58.99, in the men's 100 breast. Perez Dortona moved to 22nd in the world rankings, while Duboscq picked up 24th. Maxime Bussiere earned third in 1:00.37. Gilot topped the men's 100 fly in 51.62. Romain Sassot (52.27) and Mehdy Metella (52.37) rounded out the top three.
Lara Grangeon won the women's 100 IM in 1:01.57. Ophelie-Cyrielle Etienne (1:02.16) and Marine Bacchetta (1:03.41) placed second and third. Florent Manaudou and Stravius tied for the men's 100 IM crown with matching 53.52s. Bradley Ally finished third in 53.65.