Returning to the pools to regain Olympic gold, Florent Manaudou made his comeback over 50 m by signing the second fastest time in the series on Friday, behind his American rival Caeleb Dressel who will chase four titles in two days.
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More than two years after his return in March 2019, the 30-year-old Marseillais adjusted his glasses, water line close to that of Dressel, before coming out in 21 sec 65, improving by 2 / 100th his best time in the year.
It's super dense as usual in the 50, we must not miss much otherwise we go quickly by the wayside
", explained the 2012 Olympic champion, silvered in 2016 for having yielded a hundredth to the American Anthony Erwin.
To read also: Olympic Games: gold medal, family history, failures ... The confidences of Tony Estanguet and Florent Manaudou
Only Caeleb Dressel went faster (21.32), keeping a clear margin compared to the 21 sec 04 achieved in June.
I didn't want to spend more energy than necessary,
” explained the American.
Already titled in the 4x100m Monday and 100m, the 24-year-old Floridian still wants to win the 100m butterfly and the 4x100m mixed medley on Saturday, then the 50m and the 4x100m men's medley on Sunday.
Manaudou's ambition, simpler, remains a fantastic bet: after two and a half years of handball hiatus, he plunged again to regain his fetish distance.
While now refusing to "
aim for anything, because that (him) puts too much pressure
", he nuanced Friday.
Grousset and Hene also pass
His second career started in June 2019 with encouraging times, then a one-way ticket in 21 sec 56 at the end of January 2020, before confinement interrupted his progress: he skated this season between 21 sec 7/10 and 8/10. , chained seven 50m above the 22 sec in May and June, and stayed away from the European podium (5th) in mid-May in Budapest.
For his last test before the Games, the three-time world champion 2015 was even beaten in mid-June by Maxime Grousset, 22, who narrowly crossed the series on Friday with the 15th time (21.97).
I'll have to go up a notch in the semi-final,
" admitted the young sprinter, 6th Monday in the 4x100 m alongside Manaudou, then 4th Thursday in the 100 m freestyle.
Among the girls, Mélanie Hènes also qualified for the semi-finals of the 50 m with the 13th time in the series (24.69).
Already engaged in 100m butterfly (6th), then 100m freestyle (9th time in the semi-finals), Marie Wattel was however eliminated (24.82, 18th fastest).
The French Mehdy Metella missed him for 2 / 100th a qualification in the 100m butterfly final in the morning, ninth of the semi-finalists (51.32), before the 4x100m blue medley relay was eliminated in the evening (10th fastest time). ).
The morning was dominated by the final of the 100m ladies, queen race won by the Australian Emma McKeon (51.96), in front of the Hong Kong revelation of the Games, Siobhan Bernadette Haughey (52.27), and the second Australian Cate Campbell (52.52) .
Tears in her eyes on the podium, Campbell, 29, savored this bronze with a taste of rebirth, she who had sunk in the final of the Rio Olympics (6th) while she was advancing as a big favorite.
In the 200m breaststroke, South African Tatjana Schoenmaker won gold and a new world record (2: 18.95), pushed by three-time Olympic champion Lilly King (2: 19.92), another American Annie Lazor completing the podium (2: 20.84).
The Russian Evgeny Rylov, who competes under the neutral flag because of the doping sanctions affecting his country, for his part confirmed his success in the 100m backstroke by winning the 200m backstroke.
But the American Ryan Murphy, in silver, got annoyed in the mixed zone of this race "
probably not clean
In the 200m medley, the Chinese Shun Wang succeeded the American legend Michael Phelps, who had won four titles between 2004 and 2016, ahead of the Briton Duncan Scott and the Swiss Jérémy Desplanches.