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Leveaux: 3rd Best 50m 'Fly Ever In Semis, Then DQ

Apr 22, 2009  - Craig Lord

Thirteen French records fell in Montpellier on the first day of French nationals and trials for Rome 2009 world championships and Camelia Potec (ROM) raced at the pace of Janet Evans over 800m free. Among the standards, several made it into the top 10 all-time lists.

Here are the 13 new standards, for ease of  digestion:


  • 800m free: Nicolas Rostoucher (7:51.57)
  • 100m back: Benjamin Stasiulis (54.20)
  • 100m back: Benjamin Stasiulis (53.58)
  • 50m breast: Giacomo Perez Dortona (27.50)
  • 50m breast: Giacomo Perez Dortona (27.44)
  • 50m breast: Giacomo Perez Dortona (27.36)
  • 50m 'fly: Amaury Leveaux (23.36)
  • 50m 'fly: Frédérick Bousquet (22.84)


  • 50m breast: Sophie De Ronchi (31.65)
  • 50m breast: Sophie De Ronchi (30.96)
  • 50m 'fly: Mélanie Henique (26.57)
  • 50m 'fly: Mélanie Henique (26.51)
  • 50m 'fly: Diane Bui Duyet (26.10)

Pity the poor folk working for Agence France Presse poolside tonight: they put out a flash, a file and a record chronology every time a mark fell, and covered all the spills and thrills in between. Looking at the number of files after I'd filed the first take of this report, it reminded me of the time when I sat in Espoo with Derek Parr of Reuter at the dawn of European sprint championships and the introduction of such wonders as 50m on every stroke and 100m medley (4x50m backstroke would come later - and then get dropped quicker than a hot potato): one world mark fell after another in quick succession, Parr filing as fast as his fingers could carry him as steam poured from his ears. At that time the press bench was literally a bench: we sat on a stone step and perched our laptops on a gym bench brought on because we suggested to organisers that they might want to supply a desk from which we could work.

Anyhow, back to the fun in Montpellier: Amaury Leveaux, of Mulhouse cracked out a best time and French record of 23.46 in the heats of the 50m 'fly at French nationals in Montpellier this morning, then reduced his best to 22.94, third best ever, in semis, 0.02sec faster than the time in which Roland Schoeman (RSA) had held the world record until this month, and then lined up for the final alongside the favourite, new global standard bearer Rafa Munoz, the France-based Spaniard.

In heats, a 22.84 blast by Frédérick Bousquet was followed by him opting out of semis. Munoz clocked 22.72 in heats and led the semis in 22.49. He then took the final in 22.48, a championship record and just 0.05sec shy of his world mark, set at Spanish Jaked nationals this month. Leveaux was disqualified in the final. He clocked 22.97 but came out of his dive beyond the 15m mark. Must be hard staying inside 15m when wearing a suit designed to make you glide bullet-like further and faster.

Bousquet and Leveaux were already the top two men in France over 50m 'fly, this being their progress through the seasons until today:

  • Bousquet: 2008, 23.54; 2007, 23.95.
  • Leveaux: 2008, 23.77; 2007, 23.82.

The new all-time top 10:

  • 22.43 Munoz ESP
  • 22.84 Bousquet FRA today
  • 22.94 Leveaux FRA today
  • 22.96 Schoeman RSA (pre-2008)
  • 23.11 Cavic SRB
  • 23.12 Crocker USA (pre-2008)
  • 23.30 Lauterstein AUS
  • 23.31 Targett AUS
  • 23.36 Andkjar DEN
  • 23.38 Breus UKR (pre-2008)

That knocked the 23.43 at which Matt Welsh (AUS) had held the world record back in 2003 when he became world champion out of the all-time top 10. The all-time top 10 spread is, for a few more hours at least, 1 second. In Welsh's day - all those many years ago - was 0.30, more in keeping with the trend of history: 2000: 0.45; 2001: 0.44; 2002: 0.45; 2003: 0.30sec; 2004: 0.38; 2005: 0.61; 2006: 0.61; 2007: 0.55; 2008: 0.54.

Mélanie Henique, Amiens Metropole Nat, set her second French record of the day, with 26.51 in the 50 'fly semis. The 17-year-old, on 26.57 in heats, had held the pre-championship national standard in 26.90, set at European juniors last August. But in the final, another best and junior record of 26.12 was not good enough to beat Diane Bui Duyet, 30 this year and racing for CN Marseille. She clocked 26.10, the 9th French standard of the day.

Now that's progress for you. Between 2002 and 2008, Bui Duyet swam between 27.37 and close to 28. In 2008, with the dawn of fast suits, she shaved a little off, with a 27.06 best. Now, she is a second faster. I guess she was wearing a Jaked wetsuit lookalike.

 Nicolas Roustoucher set a French record of 7:51.57 in the 800m free. The seventh French record of the day fell to Sophie De Ronchi, Massy natation, in 31.65 in the 50m breaststroke semis. That shaved 0.03sec off the 2007 mark of Sophie Le Paranthoen, of CN Marseille. De Ronchi was back with a vengeance in the final, with a 30.96 victory and what I think was the the 10th record of Gaul on the day.

The 8th French record of the day went to Giancomo Perez Dortona, CN Marseille, reduced the 27.50 50m breaststroke record he set in heats to 27.44 in the semis to send a message to former record holder, Olympic medallist and winner of the first semi, Hugues Duboscq, CN Le Havre, on 28.13. Duboscq had held the mark at 27.73 yesterday. Today he found himself 4th best Frenchman: in the final Dortona cracked the French record again, in 27.36, to enter the all-time top 10 at No5. Then, on 27.82 and 27.93 came Tony de Pellegrini and Maxime Bussiere, before Duboscq's 28.02.

That brought the session to a close and made it, one way or another, 13 French records in a day, eight in the afternoon after five in the morning heats. De Pellegrini and Bussiere's previous bests: 28.61 and 28.58 respectively. Now, I wonder what they were wearing. Irrelevant, I suppose.

In the semis of the 200m butterfly, Clément Lefert, of Olympic Nice Natation, hammered out a 1:55.05 effort that fell just shy of the French record held by Franck Esposito at 1:54.62 since 2002. Lefert, 22, had swum 1:56.50 in heats - which was a best time by 1.43sec. Som, that's 2.88sec on the day. Not bad.

Neither was this from Ben Stasiulus, 23 this year and of Lagardere Paris Racing: a 53.58 French record in the 100m backstroke. In heats, he clocked 54.20, a national mark that got him past the 2002 French record of 54.89 held by Pierre Roger, gets past Camille Lacourt's 54.66 national mark last month and gets past his own best of 54.97, set in Bordeaux in February. That's 1.29sec n the day. Not bad.