The three Frenchmen entered in the 100m final (Pauline Mahieu for women, Yohann Ndoye Brouard and Mewen Tomac for men) failed to get on the podium, so that France’s counter at the World Swimming Championships remains stuck at two in three days. Good news, however, for Léon Marchand, who qualified for the 200m butterfly final.
First day without a medal for the French delegation at the Fukuoka World Championships! While Léon Marchand had won gold on Sunday in the 400m medley and Maxime Grousset bronze in the 50m butterfly, none of the four French nationals competing in the final during Tuesday’s evening session managed to get on the podium. After Anastasiia Kirpichnikova fourth in the 1500m, her friends in the 100m backstroke were in contention. Among the women, Pauline Mahieu thus played her very first world final, at 24 years old. And the swimmer from Canet 66, who had dispossessed Laure Manaudou of the French record for the 100m backstroke on Monday during the series, did not manage to get on the podium. The step was a little too high for the one who finished sixth in 59″72, while she had managed 59″30 the day before, a time which would have given her fifth place in this final. It remains a great experience for the young Frenchwoman, who we will no doubt see at Paris 2024. The gold medal went to the 22-year-old Australian Kaylee McKeown, who won this final in 57″53, a new championship record, ahead of the American world champion last year Regan Smith (21 years old, 57″78) and another American, Katharine Berkoff (22 years old, 58″ 25).
Ndoye Brouard and Tomac empty-handed
In the same event, but for the men, the two best French back-runners Yohann Ndoye Brouard (22 years old) and Mewen Tomac (21 years old) were entered in the final. But they finished respectively fifth in 52″84 and eighth in 53″16, far from their personal best and without ever being in the game for the medal. On the podium, we find the same three swimmers as last year at the Budapest Worlds, but the first two have exchanged places. American Ryan Murphy (28), reigning vice-world champion, won in 52″22, ahead of Italian defending champion Thomas Ceccon (22, 52″27), while American Hunter Armstrong (22) retains his bronze medal, in 52″84.
Marchand second in the half of the 200m butterfly
After this rather gloomy evening for the French camp, the light came from its prodigy Léon Marchand (21), who qualified for the final of the 200m butterfly, an event where he won the silver medal last year in Budapest. The Toulousain started calmly but finished strong, to win his half in 1’54″21, knowing that the American Carson Foster (21) had won the first half in 1’53″85. The final will take place on Wednesday at 1:53 p.m. French time. For a new French gold medal? Also note the best time of the semi-finals of the 200m freestyle (where no Frenchwoman was qualified) established by the Australian Ariarne Titmus (22 years old) in 1’54″64. Finally, in the very last event of the day, the women’s 100m breaststroke, Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte (26) triumphed in 1’04″62, ahead of South African Tatjana Schoenmaker (26, 1’05″84) and American Lydia Jacoby (19, 1’05″94).