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Muffat's Shanghai Schedule Dilemma

May 27, 2011  - Craig Lord

Camille Muffat, world s/c 200m free champion for France last December, will test her speed over 100m on the Mare Nostrum Tour or at the Paris Open next month with a view to deciding which events to keep and which to drop for the world championships in Shanghai in July. 

The decision boils down to 100m free or 4x200m free, with Nice coach Fabrice Pellerin telling L'Equipe today that if Muffat clocks a low 54 or gets inside 54sec in June racing, then the 100m free is likely to stay on her schedule alongside the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle for the world titles. The sacrifice in that case would be the 4x200m free relay. The relay heats and finals fall on the same day in Shanghai as the 100m heats and semis. 

The decision will not be an easy one: by withdrawing from the relay, Muffat would place at risk any potential success that the French team may have had in the event, with Coralie Balmy, Ophélie-Cyrielle Étienne and Charlotte Bonnet in the frame for the final. There are no reserves who could step in to provide Muffat with a break, a point that Pellerin describes as "regrettable".

Technical director Christian Donzé told the paper that he too regretted that no more than four had qualified for the relay. He would address the issue raised by Muffat's choice after the Paris Open on June 25-26. One possible solution was to rest on the selection clause that allows any swimmer already on the team to race in a relay. Aurore Mongel, the butterfly swimmer, is capable of putting in a decent 200m free in relay heats, for example.