Eric Ress Moves to France to Train for Olympic Trials

Photo Courtesy: Catherine Ladd

By Justine Ress, Swimming World Intern

Former French National Champion and 3-time NCAA runner-up, Eric Ress, is moving to France in a few days. He will prepare for Olympic Trials with his French club team, Cercle de Nageurs Antibes (CNA) under Head Coach, Franck Esposito.

After spending a year training and working with Santa Clara Swim Club under John Bitter, Ress opted to switch up his training and move to the South of France. He will train alongside former Olympians Damien Joly and Coralie Balmy. CNA has also been the training spot for other big names such as Alain Bernard, Romain Barnier, Esposito and even Ress’s father, Colin Ress.

Photo Courtesy: Catherine Ladd

Photo Courtesy: Catherine Ladd

Ress sums up his reasoning for heading to France this year-

“Now that I’m no longer enrolled in school this next year, the French team has made it pretty clear, and my club team has made it clear that they want me there. They want to see me. They want to be able to do a full training cycle. And if I go there, they’re going to be able to support me financially in terms of room and board and kind of all the little ins-and-outs of being in a club team that’s training for an Olympic prep year.”

Just a few days ago, the French Swimming Federation (FFN) released their own new time standards to qualify for the Olympic team. With the new qualifications, Ress will need to drop quite a bit of time from his personal best in the 200 meter backstroke from 2009. His fastest time stands at 1:57.59 and he needs a top two finish in the event and at least a time of 1:56.13.

As of right now, the French Federation selection standards are considerably faster than FINA ‘A’ cuts. The 2016 FINA Olympic qualifying ‘A’ time in the men’s 200 meter backstroke stands at 1:58.22.

This new qualifying time dilemma hits close to home for Ress, as he missed the time by just .30 seconds in 2012 in the 200 backstroke. However Ress seems to be putting more thought and energy into training this time around.

“I’m trying not to be distracted by it, last time that was probably my biggest downfall in terms of making the team, just being too concerned with the time standards,” Ress said. “So, now I’m just kind of using it as motivation. I know if I do make the team and I have achieved that time standard, I have a pretty good shot at being top-eight or faster than that potentially [in Rio], so I’m just going to use it as motivation this time.”


Photo Courtesy: Russ Kitching

However, before heading to France next week Ress will make two pitstops along the way. The first one: Ann Arbor, Michigan. And no, he is not looking for any rematches with former Big Ten rivals in the pool. Instead he has an interview at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

His final stop before France will be Indianapolis for another interview at the IU School of Dentistry. Ress attended both undergrad and graduate school at IU Bloomington, and his father is an alum of the IU School of Dentistry.

Ress admits that this past year, his preparation for dental school took precedence over swimming.

“Last year I was going through the dental school application process; and I have to give a lot of credit to my coach, John Bitter for being extremely lenient and accommodating with my schedule and my studying for the standardized dental exam. He was a great mentor to have and a great coach. I didn’t give swimming the full attention it deserved in terms of trying to make an Olympic team– but this year, leading up to trials, I’m devoting all my time and energy to swimming,” Ress said.

It appears Ress has some big plans in the years to come. Between trying to wrangle a spot on the French Olympic Team and getting into dental school he will have more than enough to do.

In any case, Ress seems ready to take on any obstacles. “I realized, you know, going into my final preparation that I just need to have fun with it. I’m going to be with a good group of people who all have similar goals, to get on the Olympic team despite the hard time standards and despite any adversity we could face as a group. I’m just really excited and kind of optimistic regardless of the outcome.”

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8 years ago

Good Luck Eric! I always remember you as such an encouraging team mate, and you’re a swimmer I look up to.

Joe Shepley Cheshire CDOG

Conner Andrews
8 years ago

Might want to include lara jackson on that list too

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