Leveaux Leaps; Manaudou Muddles Through
Craig Lord
Amaury Leveaux sliced 0.45sec off his French 200 free record in 1:46.54 at Olympic trials in Dunkirk; women's world 200m free champion and record holder withdraws from battle

Amaury Leveaux (Mullhouse) sliced 0.45sec off his French record to win the 200m freestyle at French Olympic trials in Dunkirk. The win was his in 1:46.54 in a race that left the field in a faraway pool somewhere behind him.

His training partner Laure Manaudou, world champion and record holder, looked to be in trouble. She withdrew from the 200m freestyle after a heat effort of 2:00.08 (some way off her world record of 1:55.52) and then toughed it out to claim the 100m backstroke crown in 1:00.00. That left the way clear for Alena Popchanka (1:58.29), Aurore Mongel (1:58.36) Coralie Balmy (1:58.76) and Camille Muffat (1:58.83) to race for the priority berths in the solo and relay. Manaudou's fate in the 200m may not, however, be sealed, under the letter of the French selection policy.

Behind the below-par Manaudou on backstroke were Alexiane Castel and Alexandra Puta, on 1:00.60 to 1:00.73. The men's equivalent saw Manaudou's latest beau, Benjamin Stasiulis,snip 0.01sec off the French record in 55.17, to get ahead of Franck Schott's 1992 best. Pierre Roger was second in 55.37 but neither he nor Stasiulis will race that event in Beijing, however, the target time and the pace of the best in the world beyond them.

Elena Bogomazova, of Canet and Russia, clocked 1:08.64 to win the 100m breaststroke ahead of Sophie De Ronchi (ES Massy Natation), on 1:09.03. That meant that France has no qualifier in the 100m breaststroke.