Florent Manaudou Goes Top Of 50 Free Rankings With 21.56 Prelims Scorcher In Rennes: Leon Marchand With 4:16 In 400IM

Florent Manaudou of France prepares to compete in the 50m Freestyle Men Final during the FINA Swimming Short Course World Championships at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre in Melbourne, Australia, December 17th, 2022. Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Florent Manaudou: Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Florent Manaudou fired off the fastest 50 free so far this year in 21.56 at the French Championships in Rennes.

Manaudou – 50 free medallist at each of the last three Olympics – fired himself to the top of the rankings with his prelims blast which was only 0.01 slower than the 21.55 that secured silver in Tokyo in what was also a morning swim.

It was also 0.51secs inside the cut for the Fukuoka worlds next month and saw him displace reigning world champion Ben Proud who went 21.71 at the British trials in Sheffield in April.

It followed Manaudou’s 48.12 in the 100 heats although he didn’t appear in the final which was won by Maxime Grousset in 47.82.

Grousset booked lane five next Manaudou in 22.22 with Pierre Lebois next through in 22.27.

Marchand Leads The Way Once More In Rennes

Leon Marchand produced an eye-watering 400IM at last year’s World Championships when he secured victory in a European record of 4:04.28.

It was the second-fastest time in history and just 0.48 outside Michael Phelps‘ world record of 4:03.80 from the 2008 Olympics.

Bob Bowman guided the American throughout his career and is now in the Frenchman’s corner with some predicting the WR would fall in Rennes, especially after his 2:06.59 blast in the 200 breaststroke.

That, it appears, will have to wait another day with Marchand clocking 4:16.01 in prelims to lead the way into Thursday’s final.

Marchand was open about fatigue having caught up with him following the 200 fly, one of four titles so far this week.

Two-time world medallist Melanie Henique was comfortably the fastest through in the 50 fly in 25.68 with Marie Wattel booking lane five in 26.72.

Emma Terebo leads the way in the women’s 200 back in 2:09.49

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