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Muffat's Medley A Euro Record Of 2:09.37

Apr 26, 2009  - Craig Lord

Britain's Hannah Miley wore a Jaked on the way to a European record of 2:09.59 in the 200m medley at Brit trials for Rome 2009 last month. But records don't last long these days, and we shall soon have it confirmed what Camille Muffat, Nice, was wearing as she ripped passed her previous best of 2:11.15 to a 2:09.37 continental standard that lines her up for a podium place at the Foro Italico this summer. Muffat and Miley are the same age, 20 this year, and their progress in the past couple of years has been uncannily close:

  • Muffat: 2:09.37 (2009); 2:11.15 (2008); 2:14.87 (2007)
  • Miley: 2:09.59; 2:11.46; 2:14.10

The splits compared: 

  • Muffat: 28.66 1:02.22; 1:39.23; 2:09.37.
  • Miley 29.46 1:02.37; 1:39.31; 2:09.59
  • Klochkova 28.70  1:01.78  1:40.05 2:10.68 (Sydney, Sept, 19, 2000)
  • Rice WR: 27.84, 1:00.68; 1:38.36; 2:08.45

Interesting to note that both Muffat and Miley are swimming the breaststroke length faster than Klochkova and Rice, Miley on 36.95 (quicker than all world record holders in history) and Muffat on 37.01. Rice's world-record split: 37.66.

The new top 10 (previous season best in brackets), pre-2008 years noted:

  • 2:08.45 Rice AUS (2:11.42)
  • 2:08.59 Coventry ZIM (2:10.76)
  • 2:09.37 Mufatt FRA (2:11.15)
  • 2:09.59 Miley GBR (2:11.46)
  • 2:09.71 Hoff USA (2:10.13)
  • 2:09.72 Wu Yanyan CHN 1997 (2:12.87) - subsequently suspended for steroids
  • 2:09.77 Coughlin USA - no prev season best (married this weekend, congrats Natalie and beau)
  • 2:10.11 Myers USA 2006 (2:12.93)
  • 2:10.40 Kukors USA (2:15.84)
  • 2:10.68 Klochkova UKR 2000 (2:14.02)

In Montpellier, Sophie de Ronchi was next home in 2:12.84, compared with a best of 2:15.47 coming into the nationals. De Ronchi had already raced, in a final that delivered France with three women on a 1:08 over 100m breaststroke. At the helm is Fanny Babou (St-Esteve), on 1:08.37, a French record 0.27sec inside the 2007 (ancient history) standard of Anne-Sophie Le Paranthoen and, moreover a best time up from a 1:09.37 coming into Montpellier. 

In second, setter of five breaststroke records at the nationals, 24-year-old Ronchi, Massy, on 1:08.41, after bests of 1:09.03 in 2008 and 1:10.71 in 2007. Coralie Dobral, on 1:08.74, stepped up from a 1:10.86 best coming into the nationals. Fabulous.

In the 1,500m freestyle, Nicolas Rostoucher, of Clichy, took six seconds off his own championship record to win in 14:57.42. That left the French record standing at 14:55.73 to Sébastien Roualt, Mulhouse, who found himself third in Montpellier, on 15:16.79, behind Anthony Pannier, CN Braud St-Louis, on 15:06.14.

In the heats of the 50m backstroke, the month-old 25.22 French record of Camille Lacourt, fell twice, first to Ben Stasiulis, Paris, in 25.21 (2008 best: 25.90), and then to the first Frenchman to break 25sec, Jérémy Stravius, Amiens, on 24.88, which compares to a 2008 best time of 26.69. Excellent. Lacourt gave warning that he was not yet done for, with a 24.90 semi (compared to a 2008 best of 26.25) that gave him lane four in the final. Well, all that speed work and all those weights over winter seems to have worked an absolute treat. Splendid.

Laure Manaudou's French and former world record of 1:55.52 stayed safe in the final of the 200m freestyle, though her championship record, of 1:57.48, fell to Coralie Balmy, Toulouse, on 1:57.29. That delivered victory by 0.5sec over Camille Muffat, Nice, with third going to 

Ophélie Cyrielle Etienne, Toulouse, on 1:58.44. On 2min-point were Sophie Huber, Margaux Fabre, 17 this year and on a French junior record of 2:00.39, Mylène Lazare and Camille Radou.

The men's 200m free went to Gregory Mallet, Marseille, in 1:47.91 (2008 best a 1:50.49), ahead of Kevin Trannoy, Nice, on 1:48.41, his second time inside 1:50, both in Montpellier this week.

Pre-selected Olympic medallist Hugues Duboscq hung on to a little pride at the end of a bruising week in which he was hammered by a shoal of Jakeds. In the 100m breaststroke won by Paris-based Brazilian Henrique Barbosa, in 1:00.24, the Olympic bronze medal winner from Le Havre clocked 1:01.26, 0.03sec up on Tony de Pellegrini - Bayonne, 27 and never better, up from a 1:02.41 best last year after a 1:00.90 semi - with Giacomo Perez Dortona, Marseille, on 1:01.33. Grand progress - not among the best 300 in the world this year, he came into 2009 with a bang, on a 1:02.58 best time and now, from semis, boasts a best of 1:00.80.

The 200m medley went to Darian Townsend, Paris and RSA, in 1:58.85, which helped to draw Fabien Horth to a 1:59.58 French record. Second Frenchman was Christophe Soulier, who had taken the record down to 2min point in semis. In those semis, Horth, 24, had set a best time of 2:02.51, 0.18sec better than his 2008 best, while before that he was on a 2:06. 81.

Just before the Bousquet bomb blast, Malia Metella, Toulouse, nudged the 50m free French record down to 24.69. And that concluded the entertainment. The heart sinks when thoughts turn to what might unfold in Rome if the independent suit test now being conducted have failed to keep pace with the "science" of suit makers.

Not sure where the pride is in doing best times that you must know yourself incapable of when wearing something other than what you put on your skin to race in. The young athlete has a small excuse of living in his or her time and saying "this is my environment, my world". The coach has no excuse, and must surely have a fairly good idea of what the difference is between the two worlds, fast-suited and not. Many, many coaches around the world have stood up and said so. Time for some key names to step forward, whether running national teams or not, and tell the truth: it is not all down to hard work, smart training and science: the speed of world swimming that we are seeing, relies to varying degrees on what is being worn and who is doing the wearing and how much is to be gained by those who have done significant amounts of core work and those who have note. Body mass and body position in water, angle of buoyancy, and on and on" all altered from natural state by the type of suit and the type of person. 

France, from head coach, through Olympic medallists and down through the ranks, knows what has happened in Montpellier. Many have come out and said so, no longer prepared to be silent as the sport sinks further into the mire. Good for them. Their message is: it is down to FINA to deliver the conditions that made swimming special pre-February 2008 and "just say no" to an equipment-based sport that removes fairness and integrity in equal measure.