David Aubry Rockets Up Ranks To All-Time No4 With 7:31 Win Over 800 At French Nationals

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David Aubry - Photo Courtesy: FFN

David Aubry, the French pool and open water diatonic freestyle ace, rocketed up the rankings to all-time number 4 over 800m freestyle with a 7mins 31.60 victory at French Short-Course Championships in Angers this evening.

Aubry’s effort added to celebrations on the Montpellier Metropole Natation squad a day after Marie Wattel took down the French 100m freestyle record in 51.45, third swiftest in the world so far this season.

On 7:39.53 at the 800m mark in the 1500m freestyle at European Championships in Glasgow last week, Aubry was just shy of the 7:36.45 lifetime best he established for the national short-course title in Montpellier in November last year.

An improvement was on the cards. As he turned in 3:44.72 at the half-way mark, a little shy of a match of that over the second 400m of a race against the clock, his opponents well behind him, the European and French that has stood at 7:29.17 to Yannick Agnel since the end of a 2012 season in which he lifted the Olympic 200m free corn in London, looked safe.

So it proved but look at the might he muscled in on this day:

  • 7:23.42 Grant Hackett (AUS) 2009
  • 7:29.17 Yannick Agnel (FRA) 2012
  • 7:30.31 Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) 2018 World title
  • 7:31.60 David Aubry (FRA) 2019
  • 7:31.18 Federico Colbertaldo (ITA) 2009
  • 7:31.92 Mykhailo Romanchuk (UKR) 2018 World silver

At that pace, Aubry left his fellow France open water teammate Marc-Antoine Olivier trailing on 7:40.06 for silver, the bronze to Joris Bouchaut in 7:40.17.

Aubry has had a fine year over 800m approaching the first Olympic Games at which the 800m freestyle joins the men’s program. At World Championships in Gwangju, he set a French long-course record of 7:42.08. That clobbered the record he’d set back in April at the French nationals, when he took down the 7:48.28 nationals standard that had stood to Sebastien Rouault since 2010.

The Gwangju final was won by Olympic 1500m champion Paltrinieri in 7:39.27, Henrik Christiansen becoming Norway’s first ever podium placer in a national record of 7:41.28, Aubry snatching bronzed down the last lap with a last-lap 26.53 split to get past Australia’s Jack McLoughlin.

Marie Wattel Cracks French 100m Free Standard

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Marie Wattel – Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

In other in Angers, there was a sizzling national record of 51.45 for Marie Wattel in the 100m freestyle on Thursday. The Montpellier and France international who has included Britain’s Loughborough University and performance centre in her learning curve of late, is now third fastest in the world this season and just ahead of the 51.49 in which Britain’s Freya Anderson took the European s/c crown in Glasgow last week.

Charlotte Bonnet, of Olympic Nice, was closest in Angers, on 52.04, before getting the better of Wattel in the 200m today, 1:52.81 to 1:54.86. Wattel did not go home without gold: she took the 50m butterfly in her second Championship record of the meet in 25.16 ahead of France teammate Melanie Henique, who on 24.24 was swifter than the 25.56 in which she claimed the European title in Glasgow last week.

There were also Championship records for Beryl Gastadello, Marseille, on 26.21 in the 50m backstroke, Lara Grangeon, Caledoniens, on 4:29.60 in the 400m medley a touch ahead of Fantine Lesaffre‘s 4:29.89.

The 50m freestyle final this evening featured four of France’s big relay hitters of the past and present. Florent Manaudou clocked 20.64 for a dominant win ahead of Maxime Grousset and Clément Mignon, in their wake over a second back from Manaudou World 100m free record holder of 2008 Amaury Leveaux (with Agnel, Fabien Gilot and Clément Lefert the London 2012 4x100m free champions, Alain Bernard and Jérémy Stravius also claiming gold as heats swimmers) and Grégory Mallett.

Stravius took a brace on the first day of racing in Angers with times of 50.99 in the 100m butterfly and 52.55 in the 100m medley.