Florent Manaudou at the 2012 Olympics
Courtesy of: Rob Schumacher - USA Today Sports
VICHY, France, July 7. THE always exciting two-day French Open came to a close with plenty of top-flight stars putting up strong performances throughout the evening in Vichy.

The Netherlands' Inge Dekker scorched a 25.95 for the women's 50-meter fly victory. The swim just missed her sixth-ranked season best of 25.93 from The Netherlands Cup earlier this year. Germany's Britta Steffen touched second with a time of 26.54, while Israel's Amit Ivry turned in a third-place effort of 26.73.

France's Damien Joly posted a 15:28.82 to triumph in the men's 1500-meter freestyle, while compatriot Enzo Vial Collet finished second in 15:30.64. New Zealand's Nathan Capp touched third in 15:30.90. Italy's Marco Belotti snared the men's 200-meter free crown in 1:49.09, while New Zealand's Matthew Stanley finished a half-a-second back with a second-place 1:49.67. Stanley's teammate Steven Kent placed third in 1:50.43.


In a close finish, Germany's Theresa Michalak clipped teammate Julia Willers, 31.78 to 31.88, in the women's 50-meter breaststroke. Ivry scored her second bronze medal of the night with a 31.95. Ivry's time matched Yuliya Banach's effort from 2009 Israeli Nationals as the Israeli national record in the sprint breaststroke event. That's Ivry's fourth event in which she now owns the Israeli record. She needs one more to match Meredith Budner's current tally of five records.

A day after scorching the meet record in the men's 200-meter breaststroke, Germany's Marco Koch earned a close victory in the men's 100-meter breast with a 1:01.23. France's Giacomo Perez Dortona finished just behind in second with a 1:01.48, while Italy's Claudio Fossi took third in 1:02.16. The men's breaststroke events certainly lost some of their star power with world-record holder Cameron van der Burgh scratching the two-day meet after a knee injury that could cost him the rest of the season with FINA World Championships just weeks away.

France's Fantine Lesaffre collected her second medley title with a 4:46.70 in the women's 400-meter IM. She matched her triumph in the 200-meter IM of 2:16.95 for her second victory of the two-day meet. Compatriot Isabelle Mabboux snared second in 4:51.79, while Germany's Kathrin Demler wound up third in 4:53.07.

Evgeny Korotyshkin, who ranks second in the world this year with a 51.53 from Russian Nationals, cruised to victory in the men's 100-meter fly with a 52.52. Belgium's Francois Heersbrandt touched second in 53.88, while Spain's Jose Manuel Valdivia Canizares earned third in 53.93.

Heading into the second medal ceremony intermission, Germany's Lisa Graf clinched the women's 100-meter backstroke in 1:01.64. France's Cloe Credeville hit the wall just behind with a second-place 1:01.77, while Spain's Duane Da Rocha Marce clinched third in 1:01.89 in what proved to be an exciting finish.

After the intermission, the men's 50-meter back proved to be one of the swiftest collective heats of the weekend. France's Jeremy Stravius topped the event in 24.67, just missing his second-ranked season best of 24.61 from French Nationals. South Africa's Gerhard Zandberg raced into second in 24.71 to move to fifth in the world rankings, while France's Camille Lacourt touched third in 24.75, off his third-ranked season best of 24.68.

Germany's Franziska Hentke finished a half-second outside the top 10 in the world with a 2:09.02 to win the women's 200-meter fly. New Zealand's Samantha Lee placed second in 2:14.08, while Germany's Tanja Kirmse earned third-place honors in 2:22.25.

Brazil's Thiago Pereira, who stands fourth in the world in the men's 200-meter IM with a 1:57.48 to his credit, snagged the event title this evening in Vichy with a 1:58.92. Hungary's Laszlo Cseh placed second in 1:59.23, while Australia's Daniel Tranter took home third-place honors in 1:59.61.

Camille Muffat held off a hard-charging Lauren Boyle of New Zealand in the women's 400-meter free with Muffat of France winning in 4:04.09. Boyle nearly caught Muffat with a 29.97 final 50 meters, but started her surged a bit too late, finishing second in 4:04.24. Muffat is the fastest swimmer in the world this year with a 4:02.64, while Boyle vaulted to fourth in the world rankings behind Muffat, Bronte Barratt (4:03.52) and Katie Ledecky (4:04.05). This evening, Boyle rivaled her New Zealand record of 4:03.63 from last summer's Olympics. France's Coralie Balmy rounded out the top three in 4:08.78.

Following another medal ceremony intermission, the men's 50-meter free proved to be a blazing finale. France's Florent Manaudou topped the star-studded affair with a 21.64, just off his third-ranked season best of 21.55. Brazil's Cesar Cielo raced to second in 21.78, shy of his fourth-ranked season best of 21.57, while Australia's James Magnussen knocked down a third-place 21.86. Magnussen stands second in the world behind Nathan Adrian, 21.47 to 21.52. France's Fred Bousquet tied Jasper Van Mierlo for fourth with matching 22.30s.

Vanessa Grimberg led a German 1-2-3 with a 2:27.85 to win the women's 200-meter breast. Compatriots Caroline Ruhnau (2:32.01) and Alexandra Wenk (2:32.66) rounded out the top-three finish in the distance breaststroke event.

In another close finish, Germany's Christian Diener secured the men's 200-meter backstroke title in 2:00.24. New Zealand's Gareth Kean finished second in 2:00.27, while Italy's Sebastiano Ranfagni pocketed third in 2:00.54. Germany's Britta Steffen smoked the women's 100-meter free to close out the individual events with a 54.07. That's just outside the top 10 in the world this year. France's Charlotte Bonnet took second in 54.98, while Camille Muffat picked up third in 55.61.