Bernard Leads 12-Deep Sub-50 Club In French Heats
Apr 23, 2009 - Craig Lord
The picture at the Olympic Games in Athens 2004 in morning heats of the men's 100m freestyle:
In Beijing, 2008, this was the picture in evening heats:
In domestic competition this morning, this was the picture at the French trials and nationals in Montpellier, where Olympic champion Alain Bernard led the charge with the 7th sub-48sec of the last 13 months of his career and the first by any man in the world so far this year (not going to stay like that, of course):
That 48.40 of Kebbab, the visitor in the French sprinters' domain, rockets him up the rankings somewhat, from 95th best ever into the top 25. Before today, Kebbab, 25 this year and from Algeria, the homeland of FINA president for the moment, Mustapha Larfaoui (from whom we have yet to hear the words - we must stop this suits nonsense and stop it now - the sport I govern is bleeding to death as we deliberate), took these steps:
And in 55th for last place among those who swam, Bernard. No, not that one. Romain Bernard, on 54.11.
Sophie De Ronchi, fresh from breaking the 50m breaststroke French record twice yesterday, woke the Montpellier crowd up this morning with a national mark of 2:26.33.
The previous standard had stood at 2:27.13 to Karine Bremond since the Olympic Games in 2000 (no chance of a single pre-feb-2008 record standing for much longer these days). De Ronchi, 24 this year, also got past the French championship record of 2:26.38, set in 2001 by Romanian Beatrice Caslaru.
These were de Ronchi's best five before today, all from 2008-09: 2:28.20; 2:29.31; 2:29.54; 2:30.72; 2:30.93. And her pre-feb-2008 bests: 2:31.30 in 2007 and 2:31.39 in 2006.
And this is context for you.