French Olympic Trials: Ben Stasiulis Sets French Record

DUNKERQUE, France, March 23. THE sixth day of long course meter competition at the French Olympic Trials witnessed a French record by Ben Stasilius as French swimmers continued to battle through a convoluted qualification process.

Women's 200 breast
Cuts: Heats: 2:32.00; Semis: 2:28.55; Finals: 2:26.89
Morocco's Sara El Bekri won the event with a time of 2:26.99, just .10 off the FINA A cut in the event that would have guaranteed her a spot at the 2012 London Olympics. Coralie Dobral finished second in 2:28.63, while Geraldine Huffner took third in 2:32.91. No one from France secured an Olympic spot in the event. Fanny Babou (2:33.21), Adeline Martin (2:33.98), Julia Vendeville (2:35.04), Adeline Thenot (2:35.11) and Claire Polit (2:40.37) completed the championship finale.

Men's 200 back
Cuts: Semis: 1:59.77; Finals: 1:58.48
Ben Stasiulis topped the 200 back with a French-record time of 1:56.39, trumping the 1:56.64 set by Pierre Roger at French Nationals in 2009. Stasiulis jumped up to a 20th-place tie with Hayden Stoeckel in the all time rankings, but still is looking up in the annual rankings at top-ranked Ryosuke Irie (1:54.02). Along with his semifinal time of 1:57.28, Stasiulus grabbed a spot on the Olympic roster.

Eric Ress was the hard-luck second-place finisher, just missing out on the Olympic team by .30 seconds. Ress, who burned a year of eligibility at Indiana University to compete at the French Olympic Trials instead of the NCAA Division I Men's Championships this week, clocked an identical time in finals as his 1:58.78 in semis. He made the semifinal cut, but his finals time missed the 1:58.48 to make the Olympic roster. His times put him 10th in the world this year.

Joris Hustache (2:01.38), Rufino Regueira (2:01.70), Alexis Cabrol (2:01.90), Eddie Moueddene (2:02.36), Florian Joly (2:02.59) and Romain Beraud (2:05.49) rounded out the championship heat.

Men's 200 IM
Cuts: Heats: 2:04.00; Semis: 2:01.84; Finals: 2:00.17
No one made the automatic cut in this event. Guillaume Strohmeyer touched out Ganesh Pedurand, 2:03.00 to 2:03.20. Romain Landry placed third in 2:03.59. Victor Migeon (2:04.08), Quentin Coton (2:04.34), Arnaud Rondan (2:04.67), Christophe Soulier (2:04.97) and Gaetan Quirin (2:05.99) also vied for the national title.

Women's 100 free
Cuts: Semis: 55.05; Finals: 54.57
French missed placing an automatic swimmer into the individual 100 free. The nation did, however, stock its 400 free relay. Charlotte Bonnet (55.43), Mylene Lazare (55.50), Margaux Fabre (56.26) and Margaux Farrell (56.32) earned the top four spots in the event. Beryl Gastaldello (56.41), Maria-Elena Letang (56.60), Isabelle Mabboux (56.71) and Alizee Merdy (57.43) also competed in the finale.

Men's 50 free
Cuts: Finals: 22.11
Florent Manaudou led Fred Bousquet, 21.86 to 22.02, into the finals as Manaudou jumped to second in the world with the effort. Only James Magnussen has been faster with a 21.74 from Australian Trials this month. Bousquet moved to ninth with the swim. Amaury Leveaux (22.10) also demonstrated the ability to clear the FINA A cut with a third-place swim heading into finals. Fabien Gilot (22.29), Alain Bernard (22.34), Nosy Pelagie (22.46), Yoris Grandjean (22.65) and Boris Steimetz (22.65) also made finals.

Women's 200 back
Cuts: Finals: 2:10.84
Laure Manaudou, who earlier in the meet made her third Olympic team by qualifying in the 100 back, has been on point so far. She dominated the distance dorsal semifinal rounds with a 2:10.88, just barely off the FINA A cut she will need in the finale. Today's time pushed her to 19th in the world rankings.

Marie Jugnet (2:13.19), Aleksandra Putra (2:13.24), Alexianne Castel (2:13.57), Camille Gheorghiu (2:13.83), Cloe Credeville (2:15.30), Justine Ress (2:17.01) and Fantine Lesaffre (2:17.83) earned the rest of the transfer spots into the finale.

Men's 100 fly
Cuts: Heats: 54.00; Semis: 52.62; Finals: 52.36
Clement Lefert, another swimmer missing NCAAs to vie for an Olympic spot after focusing on Trials instead of swimming for the University of Southern California, missed the semifinal cut by a mere .06 seconds. Lefert led the way with a 52.68, good enough for 19th in the world rankings, but not good enough to make the French semifinal cut. He made the prelim cut with a 52.69 during heats. Lefert, however, did already make the team as part of the 400 free relay.

Romain Sassot took second in 52.70, also missing the semifinal cut, while USA's Tyler McGill posted a third-place 52.83. Mehdy Metella (52.96), Christophe Lebon (53.15), Paul Lemaire (53.97), Jordan Coelho (54.15) and Thomas Vilaceca (54.22) also picked up finals swims.