PHOENIX, Arizona, November 17. CLEMENT Lefert had a tough decision to make regarding his allegiance in the pool in 2012, and on today's edition of The Morning Swim Show he talks about the reasons why he's chosen to go for a spot on the French Olympic team.
With the men's NCAA championships and French Olympic Trials held in the same week in 2012, Lefert chose his home country over the University of Southern California because "it was my dream since I was a little boy to win an Olympic medal." He talks about other factors that led to the decision and whether he'll have an opportunity to represent USC in the 2012-2013 season. Watch the full show in the video player below and visit SwimmingWorld.TV for more video interviews.
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Show Transcript: (Note: This is an automated service where some typos and grammatical errors may occur.)
Peter Busch: This is the Morning Swim Show for Thursday, November 17th, 2011. I'm your host Peter Busch in the FINIS Monitor today we talk Clément Lefert. He just had an impossible choice to make, try and make the Olympic team for his home country of France or help his teammates at USC by swimming at the NCAA this year. Well, Clément has made his choice and he joins us right now in the FINIS Monitor from Los Angeles. Hey Clément, welcome back to the Morning Swim Show, how are you?
Clément Lefert: Hi, I'm very good and you?
Peter Busch: Good, thank you. So what did you decide?
Clément Lefert: So well it is pretty obvious I think. I swam with Trojans and the French team last weekend in Minneapolis, so I won't be swimming for USC this year. I will be focusing on training and trying to make the Olympic team.
Peter Busch: What ultimately was the deciding factor?
Clément Lefert: Well, I spent some time talking with my family, with my friends, with my coaches here at USC and back in France, and actually everybody was really nice to me and said well the Olympics is a big competition and you should probably focus on that so eventually I took the decision to represent my country and try to make the Olympics for London.
Peter Busch: Was it tough telling your teammates?
Clément Lefert: Well, I think they knew that I would do that, but, yeah I mean this season is going to be great for USC so I wish I was part of it and they have been training well, they had their first dual meet this weekend. They have been doing pretty well so I mean I wish I was there but I really can't.
Peter Busch: Now this was your 5th year and your last year of eligibility is there any way you can get some sort of Olympic red shirt or is that your done swimming for USC?
Clément Lefert: Yeah, I think we have talked about it with the coach. I think I could still apply or for an Olympic waiver and still get them over a year after the Olympics, but I'm not there yet. I don't really know what we are going to do. I'm just waiting to see how the season goes you know.
Peter Busch: Will you consider turning Pro?
Clément Lefert: Well, I don't know. I don't know if you can make really big money from swimming in France but I wish I could do one more year swimming at college so I won't be turning pro until I made my final decision.
Peter Busch: Yeah. Well again I think it sucks that you know France put you guys in that position having their Olympic trials on the same week as NCAAs essentially giving, you know, an ultimatum kind of position. But you know now that you have made it and you are focused on swimming at the Olympics I mean how is training going and what are going to be the specific goals for you, I mean do you want to just make a relay, do you want to swim some individual events?
Clément Lefert: Well my goal is make the 200 individual. We are probably going to take top 2. We have A cuts. There is Yannick Agnel already and some few other French guys. I would like to make a 4×200 which is a good relay now. I would like to start working on my fly too and get back in my 2009 times. So yeah if I could make that 4×100 medley relay that would be great and I have been working on my speed too so I will just give it a shot the 4×100 freestyle so that is pretty much my plan.
Peter Busch: That 4×200 has tremendous potential now with the way Yannick is swimming ,you are a great 200 freestyler you mentioned some other guys and I'm curious was there any discussion from people like Yannick you know calling you and saying look man we could medal in this event you know if you are swimming.
Clément Lefert: Yeah, well they mailed me in — last year already it was like, but I think yeah.
Peter Busch: I can't remember the last time France got an Olympic medal on the 4×200 so this would be—
Clément Lefert: I don't think we ever did actually— .
Peter Busch: Yeah and this would be unprecedented.
Clément Lefert: Yeah, that would be. So yeah I mean everybody I have been training pretty hard, I have been training pretty hard because I really want to swim that relay and I think we can do really great. I think we can compete with the U.S. I don't know if we can beat them but they showed last year that until the 750 well we were right there you know. So I think we should give it a shot and I will be training for it.
Peter Busch: Are you going to stay training there in L.A the entire time or at any point will you go—
Clément Lefert: I'm actually leaving tomorrow. I'm joining Yannick and the French team in Fort Lauderdale in Florida, we will be training at the Hall of Fame until U.S Nationals and we will compete at U.S. Nationals and then I will go back to France, because the French swimmers have a bunch of training camps all around Europe and in South Africa so for me it is not really good to fly back and forth so I mean it is going to be great I'm going to be training with my teammates, my French teammates and we are going to try to build a team spirit you know.
Peter Busch: That is cool, I can tell that it wasn't an easy decision for you to make and we knew it wouldn't be but you know you made it and I think a lot of people will agree that is what you had to do. I mean it is every swimmers dream to compete in the Olympics so we can certainly appreciate that.
Clément Lefert: Yeah. Well, my dream since I'm a boy is to make a medal at the Olympics and we finally have a decent choice to reach it so I will try.
Peter Busch: Well good luck with all the training man it is going to be fun to watch you next year.
Clément Lefert: Thank you.
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