Manaudou Reportedly Leaving Coach for Italy

PARIS, France, May 7. A report in L'Equipe declares that Laure Manaudou, perhaps the premier female swimmer in the world, has left the training camp of longtime coach Philippe Lucas and is moving to Italy to be with boyfriend Luca Marin. A split between Manaudou and Lucas would mark the end of an era that was marked by great success.

Last month, Manaudou won gold at the World Championships in Melbourne in the 200 and 400 freestyles, and also won silver medals in the 100 backstroke and 800 freestyle. Lucas guided Manaudou to world records in the 200 and 400 free events and a gold medal in the 400 free, her pet event, at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Marin, the bronze medalist in the 400 individual medley at the World Champs, is among the top Italian swimmers in the world, alongside the likes of Filippo Magnini and Federica Pellegrini. Manaudou's departure from Lucas is the latest in a number of coaching moves by top-tier athletes. Recently, Grant Hackett and Leisel Jones decided to change their training bases.

Prior to the report in L'Equipe, Marin and Manaudou had denied there were any plans for the lady to move to Italy. Aside from being the world-record holder in the 200 and 400 free events, Manaudou is one of only two women in history to break the one-minute barrier in the 100 backstroke. Without Lucas, never far from his pupil during competitions, it will be interesting to see if Manaudou can maintain her high level of success.