French swimming championships: Manaudou, Grousset, Kirpichnikova… they also play a place in the Olympics

French swimming championships: Manaudou, Grousset, Kirpichnikova… they also play a place in the Olympics

Behind the locomotive Léon Marchand, the main headliners of the Blues do not intend to miss the opportunity of a lifetime to compete in the Olympics at home. Starting with Florent Manaudou, whose objective is to take one of the first two places in the 50 m NL and to ensure a good 100 m NL with a view to the 4 x 100 m medley relay.

The 33-year-old Olympic champion from London, who will bow out after the summer, is doubly motivated. The simple prospect of winning a historic fourth medal over the same distance in as many Olympics is not enough for him. Manaudou is also applying for the role of standard bearer, to which he can only claim… if he qualifies.

The captain of the Blues put everything on his side to fulfill his last mission by dividing his season into three parts. “The first one was fun from September to December and I did well with that one,” he jokes. In addition, I went for medals (three at the Euros in short course). Afterwards, I had a part in Australia which was designed to become an athlete again. Then, the internships in South Africa allowed me to be a little calm, to think about myself and not necessarily about the people who remind me that it’s Paris 2024 every day when I go out in the street…”

Since the Giant Open at the end of March, where he weighed 108 kg on the platform, the four-time world champion began to lose weight and says he has never been so sharp. The goal is to be at 99 kg at the beginning of August… If all goes well this week. “You’re welcome, there’s always that little fear in the back of my head,” admits the blue giant. I always think of Fred Bousquet in 2015.”

That year, his ex-brother-in-law had to give up the 50m NL qualifier for the Kazan Worlds due to food poisoning. Maxime Grousset, himself, seems quite detached from this type of apprehension. “I pay attention to certain things, but I don’t think about that every five minutes,” breathes the reigning world champion in the 100m butterfly (who will also start in the 50m NL, 100m NL and 50m butterfly) . I remain a normal human. Often I do things and then tell myself that maybe I shouldn’t have. But it’s after…”

How many French people at the Games?

After a season of ups and downs, the Insep swimmer, fourth in the 100m NL in Tokyo in 2021, wants above all to “have fun” and build up confidence before chasing summer medals. The backstrokers Yohann Ndoye Brouard and Mewen Tomac, the sprinter Marie Wattel, the girls’ captain Charlotte Bonnet (who will hang up after the Games) or Anastasiia Kirpichnikova, a solid chance of an Olympic podium in the middle distance, will also be followed. For how many Tricolores in La Défense?

“It’s difficult to give a number, especially if we take all the relays (7) and we take six per relay,” says DTN Julien Issoulié. We will say between 20 and 30. The objective is still that there are as many as possible individually, then we will optimize for the relays. What I prefer to tell myself is that the swimmers will beat their best time here and that they will be able to beat it again in Paris…”

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