Marie Wattel Wins 100 Fly to Start French Elite Championships

WATTEL Marie LON London Roar (LON) ISL International Swimming League 2021 Match 8 day 1 Piscina Felice Scandone Napoli, Naples Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Photo Courtesy: Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

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Marie Wattel Wins 100 Fly to Start French Elite Championships

Marie Wattel took a step toward returning to the World Championships by winning the 100 butterfly at the French Elite Championships Tuesday.

The meet in Limoges will stretch through Thursday and will serve as a selection for the upcoming World Championships, though France is using a hybrid selection model with various meets considered.

Wattel led the way in the 100 fly with a time of 58.61 seconds. She was sixth in the event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and eighth at the last Worlds in 2019. She holds the French record in the event at 56.16 seconds.

Second was Lilou Ressencourt in 59.28. Beryl Gastaldello slid from second in prelims to fourth in the final at 1:00.01.

In the men’s 50 fly, Maxime Grousset outsprinted Florent Manaudou for the one spot available in that event. Manaudou had been seventh in the morning to draw an outside lane for the final, where he sped up to 23.46. But Grousset was just quicker, clocking in at 23.41 to get the win. Thomas Piron finished third in 23.69.

Joris Bouchaut won the men’s 400 free in 3:49.08. The 26-year-old native of Guadeloupe beat out open water Olympian Marc-Antoine Olivier, who was second in 3:50.12, and David Aubry, who swam the event in Tokyo. Aubry went 3:51.36 for third.

Anastasia Kirpitchnikova took the win in the women’s 400 free with a time of 4:09.59. The Russian Olympian, swimming for Montpellier U.C. Natation, was 2.4 seconds quicker than Charlotte Bonnet, who finished second.

Carl Atikaci won the men’s 100 breast in 1:00.77. He just outdueled Antoine Viquerat, who represented France in Tokyo in the 200 breast, by .11 seconds, Viquerat second in 1:00.88.

The women’s 200 individual medley came down to the wire before Cyrielle Duhamel snuck out with the win. She clocked in at 2:14.19, just ahead of Camille Tissandie, the French junior champ in the event. The 18-year-old Tissandie went 2:14.46. Two-time Olympian Fantine Lesaffre finished fifth.

The French Elite Championships runs through Sunday, with prelims and finals each day.