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Nice Swims From Muffat & Agnel

Jun 9, 2012  - Craig Lord

After tub-thumping performances over 200m and 400m freestyle at the Canet round of the Mare Nostrum Tour midweek, Camille Muffat (FRA) swam her last 200m free of the tour, in Monaco today, in 1:55.21, her second meet mark of the day.

Victory was something of a formality, through the performance was not, with Nice teammate Charlotte Bonnet second in 1:58.28 and Canadian Barbara Jardin third in 1:58.58. 

Muffat set a meet mark of 1:56.42 in morning heats of the 200m freestyle, yet another show of strength on the way to London 2012, where easy speed through the Olympic rounds is the stuff of of those panning for gold. The meet mark had stood at 1:56.55 to Femke Heemskerk (NED) since last year.

Muffat, fastest ever in a textile suit over 200m (1:54.66) and 400m (4:01.13), will drive for the Games in July among favourites for both crowns.

Four years ago in Beijing she was considered a medley swimmer and had yet to show her Olympic-title potential on freestyle. Coach in Nice, Fabrice Pellerin, had seen it and had already started to makes the changes to her programme. That work has started to pay off just in time. 

Muffat's annual progression:

  • 2012: 1:54.66
  • 2011: 1:55.95
  • 2010: 1:56.92
  • 2009: 1:57.84
  • 2008: 1:58.30

Race consistency and repetition (lessons and lessons learned) of excellence and speed have played a hefty part of lessons: if she clocked 14 efforts between 1:55.95 and 1:59.95 in 2011, never swimming over 2mins in heats or finals at any meet, this year has produced one 2min plus effort, a 2:00.52 in heats at Canet midweek - on her way to that world textile best of 1:54.66 in the final, the time at the helm of six performances in Olympic year inside 1:56.57, two of which were established in the rounds on the way toy a final.

Muffat's Nice teammate Yannick Agnel, took a brace of victories, in 49.14 in the 100m free ahead of Brent Hayden (CAN), on 49.37, and Andrey Grechin (RUS), on 49.51.

In the 400m free, Agnel was a class part, on 3:46.14, ahead of Nice training partner Clément Lefert, 3:50.31, and Aussie visitor Jarrod  Killey, on 3:53.72.

Lithuania's Ruta Meilutyte, the 15-year-old based at Plymouth Leander in Britain, clocked 1:07.96 in the 100m breaststroke to put clear water between her triumph and the next home, Michela Guzzeti (ITA), 1:08.73, and Hrafnhidur Luthersdottir (ISL), 1:09.68.

In the 200m breaststroke, China's Xue Ruipeng took the win in 2:16.45, his teammate Chen Xinyi winning the 400m medley in 4:43.02 ahead of South African Kathryn Meaklim, 4:44.15, China's Bi Yirong on 4:45.94 for third.

Ben Treffers (AUS) took the 100m backstroke in 54.65 ahead of Britain's Liam Tancock, 55.03, and Charl Crous (RSA), 55.67. Chad Les Clos (RSA) was a pool apart in the 200m butterfly, on 1:55.77, no others inside 2:01. Le Clos also won the 200m medley, his  2:01.02 keeping at bay Justin James (AUS), 2:02.63, and Tobias Oriwol (CAN), 2:03.63.

The women's 100m 'fly went to Katerine Savard (CAN) in 58.89, 0.1sec ahead of Britain's Fran Halsall, with third going to Finland's Emilia Pikkarainen, on 59.16.