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Lacourt A Textile Pioneer On 52.11 ER

Aug 10, 2010  - Craig Lord

European Championships, Budapest, Day 2 finals

Men's 100m backstroke

Camille Lacourt (FRA) raced a league apart to a European record - in textile and the first major mark anywhere in the world here and of the year - of 52.11 and gold. The time is the second fastest ever behind the world mark of Aaron Peirsol (USA), on 51.94 in shiny pants last summer and the fastest in textile ever, Peirsol's best having been 52.98 in January 2008. 

Teammate Jeremy Stravius took silver in a personal best of 53.44, with Liam Tancock (GBR) taking bronze in 53.86 in lane 8 after having made the final because Markus Rogan (AUT) withdrew. Lacourt is a master of technique and flat-lined his way to a 25.43 turn on the way to the title. 

The champion's effort compared to a best in semi-shiny pants of 52.58 in 2009, his latest effort lifting him from 8th to 2nd on the all-time fastest list. "I don't really understand what's happened to me! After the prelims I thought I could win the race, but a European record was not a goal. What a fast race." 

Lacourt's win was the fourth in history for France: in 1947 Georges Vallerey, after whom the Paris pool that hosted so many a world cup was named, stormed to the crown by almost 3sec; Gilbert Bozon won in 1954, beating a man whose name the home crown this time round would surely worship (Laszlo Magyar) and Christophe Robert here on Margaret Island in what is  now the warm-down pool at the atmospheric Alfred Hajos complex. Read what Marseilles coach Roman Barnier has to say on the charge of his talented charge

The splits compared:

  • 51.94 25.35 Peirsol (USA), Jul 2009 (Indianapolis)
  • 52.11 25.43 Lacourt (FRA), Aug 2010 (Budapest)
  • 52.54 25.65 Peirsol (USA), Aug 2008 (Beijing)
  • 52.98 25.80 Peirsol (USA), Mar 2007 (Melbourne)

History unfolding:

Effect on race on all-time top 10:

  • 51.94 Peisol (USA)2009
  • 52.11 Lacourt (FRA) 2010
  • 52.24 Irie (JPN) 2009
  • 52.26 Koga (JPN) 2009
  • 52.27 Meeuw (GER) 2009
  • 52.38 Wildeboer (ESP) 2009
  • 52.51 Thoman (USA) 2009
  • 52.57 Vyatchanin (RUS)  2009
  • 52.59 Bal (USA) 2009
  • 52.73 Tancock (GBR) 2009

Before Budapest Tancock had led the 2010 world rankings on 52.85 from British spring nationals.

Euro podiums:

  • 2010: 52.11 - 53.86
  • 2008: 54.03 - 54.45
  • 2006: 53.50 - 54.34

Euro finals:

  • 2010: 52.11 - 54.40
  • 2008: 54.03 - 55.41
  • 2006: 53.50 - 54.84
  • Most Euro wins:  Martin Lopez-Zubero (ESP), 4
  • Most Titles/Nation:  ESP, 5
  • Tightest Podium:  1989 - gold to bronze - 0.08sec

From the archive: In 1934, as the winds of war gathered in Europe, Magdeburg, Germany, hosted the European Championships. Ernst-Joaquim Kueppers was the home favourite for the 100m backstroke crown, so much so that a large trophy of a vast bronze eagle on a marble plinth, was prepared in anticipation and Adolf Hitler, he of the moustache and a penchant for unhinged, barbarian brutality, was on hand to share the limelight. Fate had red faces in store. Britain’s John Besford spoiled the party and then had to find a way of transporting his prize home. An English resident of the German city, a Mr Hodges, arranged for a wooden crate to be made for shipping the eagle on Besford’s behalf and the eagle landed in Britain some months later. If that survived war and the passing of darkness, so too did German strength in the race pool. Down the years, Germans have won 8 of the titles held since 1926.


Shiny suit era

  • WR: 51.94 Aaron Peirsol (USA) Jul 2009
  • ER:  52.27 Helge Meeuw (GER) Jul 2009

February 1  2008

  • WR: 52.98 Aaron Peirsol (USA) Mar 2007 
  • ER: 53.46 Helge Meeuw (GER) Jun 2006