French Long Course National Championships: Rafael Munoz Perez Threatens World Record Twice

MONTPELLIER, France, April 22. SPAIN's Rafael Munoz Perez proved that his men's 50 fly world record was not a fluke. The Spaniard nearly eclipsed the record twice during the first day of swimming at the French Long Course National Championships.

After clocking a 22.72 during prelims, Munoz Perez posted a 22.49 during semis and then a 22.48 during the finale to just miss his 22.43 global standard twice. Meanwhile, Fred Bousquet broke the French record with a 22.84 during prelims before scratching finals for an unreported reason. His time crushed his national record of 23.54 set in June 2008. Romain Sassot took second in 23.44, while Antoine Galavtine took third in 24.03.

Plenty of other records fell throughout the first night of swimming.

Romania's Camelia Potec set a national record in the women's 800 free with a time of 8:16.70. The swim beat her previous record of 8:19.70 set at the Beijing Olympics, and moved her within 2.5 seconds of Rebecca Adlington's world record of 8:14.10. Coralie Balmy (8:25.32) and Ophelie Cyrielle Etienne (8:27.93) touched second and third.

Nicholas Rostoucher also grabbed the men's 800 free national record with a time of 7:51.57. The swim beat Sebastien Rouault's record of 7:52.04 set in 2005. Anthony Pannier placed second in 7:54.94, while Raoul Shaw finished third in 8:01.49. Rouault took fourth in 8:06.73.

Diane Bui Duyet touched out Melanie Henique, 26.10 to 26.12, to be the final holder of the French national record in the women's 50 fly for the day. Henique posted a 26.57 during prelims to beat her 26.90 standard from August 2008. She then clocked a 26.51 during semis, before Bui Duyet beat her to the wall during finals. Angela Tavernier touched third in 27.24.

Sophie de Ronchi bettered the French record in the women's 50 breast twice. First, she posted a 31.65 during semis to erase Anne-Sophie Le Paranthoen's record of 31.68 set in February 2007. de Ronchi then clocked a swift 30.96 during finals to move closer to Zoe Baker's European record of 30.57. Fanny Baboli took second in 31.51. Morocco's Sara El Bekri smashed her national record with a 31.54 during finals for third place. Heading into the day, El Bekri's record had been a 33.19 from March. She beat that in prelims with a 32.61, then went lower with a 32.08 in semis before clearing 32 seconds in finals.

France's Giacomo Perez Dortona progressed the French national record in the men's 50 breast throughout the day. In prelims, he posted a 27.50 to down Hugues Duboscq's national standard of 27.73 set in July 2005. Perez Dortona then stopped the clock in 27.44 in semis before winning the title in 27.36 in the finale. Tony de Pellegrini placed second in 27.82, while Maxime Bussiere took second in 27.93. Duboscq wound up fourth in 28.02.

Several other events went through the semifinal round during the first day. Aurore Mongel led the women's 200 fly semis heats with a 2:06.85 to break the meet record of 2:07.36 she set last year. Magali Rousseau qualified second in 2:09.14.

Clement Lefert paced the men's 200 fly in 1:55.05, while Thomas Vilaceca qualified second in 1:57.82. Esther Baron followed in the women's 100 back with a top-seeded time of 1:00.46, while Alexianne Castel touched second in 1:01.24.

Additionally, Ben Stasiulis lowered the men's 100 back French record twice. His 54.20 during prelims cleared Camille Lacourt's record of 54.66 from March. Stasiulis then dipped under 54 seconds with a swift 53.58 during semis. He'll be shooting for Aschwin Wildeboer's European record of 52.93 during finals.