Damien Joly Gives Boost To French Distance Free With Win In 800 At French Nationals

Damien Joly
Photo Courtesy: French Swimming Federation

The third day of competition at the French long course nationals in Limoges showed some promise for the country’s men’s distance freestyle program while the legacy of the late Camille Muffat continued in the women’s 200 free.

Damien Joly provided a boost for France’s distance freestyle with a strong 7:51.74 in the men’s 800 freestyle, putting him second in the world behind the 7:50.42 by Hungary’s Peter Bernek earlier today. That time might get moved about in the world rankings next week when the Australians begin competition at their national championships. Joly’s swim would have ranked at the last world championships in 2013, so Joly could be looking at a major breakthrough later this summer in the non-Olympic event. Joly still has a long way to get to Sebastien Rouault’s national record of 7:48.28 from 2010.

Placing second to Joly and also qualifying for the world championship team was Joris Bouchat with a 7:56.39. That’s currently seventh in the world rankings for 2015.

Charlotte Bonnet put herself in the conversation for a place in the world championship 200 free final with a 1:56.86 today to win over the 1:57.49 by Coralie Balmy. Bonnet’s time sits fourth in the world, just ahead of Australia’s Bronte Barratt and Brittany Elmslie, but look for those two to leapfrog over Bonnet next week at the Australian nationals.

Camille Lacourt put himself in place to defend his 50 backstroke world title with a 24.56 today to win the event over 100 back winner Jeremy Stravius and his 24.70. Stravius was second in the 50 back at the 2013 worlds (tied with Matt Grevers), so the two are looking to replicate that 1-2 finish in Kazan. Florent Manaudou was hoping to back up his short course worlds title and world record in the 50 back with an appearance at the long course world championships, but his 24.77 placed third and therefore out of contention to swim the event in Russia. Those three swims are the three fastest in the world in the non-Olympic event so far this year,

Lara Grangeon was not going to let Dutch open water star Sharon Van Rouwendaal win another event at French nationals … at least not today. With Van Rouwendaal leading the women’s 200 fly final at 150 meters by four tenths over Grangeon, it looked like Van Rouwendaal would win her third event. But in the final strokes, Grangeon got to the finish first with a 2:08.68 to Van Rouwendaal’s 2:08.74. Also in the hunt for the first 100 meters was Marie Wattel, who fell off the pace and finished third with a 2:09.87.

After going 1-2 in the 100 breast on Tuesday, Giacomo Perez Dortona and Thomas Dahlia repeated that finish today in the 50 breast. Perez Dortona’s 27.59 fell .01 short of the FINA “A” qualifying standard, while Dahlia was second with a 28.39. Look for Dahlia to shine in the 200 breast on Sunday after placing eighth in that event last week at the NCAA championships while representing Louisville. Another Frenchman competing in the U.S. collegiate system, Thibault Capitaine (Arizona State), was third with a 28.53.

One of the major holes in France’s world championship roster will be the men’s 200 IM. Ganesh Pedurand won with a 2:01.83, which is slower than the FINA “A” qualifying time for worlds. Guillaume Laure was second with a 2:02.81, while Cyril Chatron fell to third with a 2:03.35 after holding on to second through the breaststroke.

2015 French Long Course Nationals, Day Three – Results