In January, a host of French Olympians appeared at the 13th Meeting des Hortillons in Amiens, France. It was the first big gala event of the 2022 calendar year on French soil, and it served as a warm-up ahead of the Golden Tour Meet in Nice.
The Meeting des Hortillons saw some records tumble, including a new personal best effort from Maxime Grousset. There was also huge progress made by youngster Mary Moluh as she came home under her previous personal bests (PB) in a handful of events.
Brilliant Mousset steals the show
22-year-old Maxime Mousset featured for France at the 2021 Olympic Games, where he got within touching distance of the medal places in the 100m freestyle.
Grousset finished fourth in the race at his first Olympics, which was a high-quality final, with the winner clocking a new Olympic record.
On his recent appearance in Amiens, Grousset banked the first French National Record of the year.
He improved on his best 200m free time, giving him the three best race times in the 200m freestyle event in the last six weeks. During that period, Grousset shaved more than two seconds off his PB in the event.
Grousset’s time in Amiens was less than half a second slower than this time that saw him make the French Olympic Team.
In his other events at the Meeting des Hortillons, Grousset landed the 50m free, the 100m free and the 50m butterfly in a successful season opener.
He also participated in the 100m, recording his second-best career time outside of a national or international championship.
Moluh makes the breakthrough
While Grousset was one of the headlining acts at the Meeting des Hortillons on the men’s side of things, there was a breakthrough star from the women’s events. That was 16-year-old Mary Moluh, who produced some stunning performances.
The youngster recorded victories in the 50m freestyle, the 50m backstroke and the 100m backstroke. Moluh produced personal bests in two of those three victories, including setting a new French record for U17s 100m back, which she previously held.
Moluh had set that previous best in the 100m backstroke as a 15-year-old last year at the European Junior Championships. That recent time posted in the event puts her fifth on the all-time list of Women’s 100 backstroke results in national records.
More personal bests recorded
More eye-catching performances in the pool at the Meeting des Hortillons came from Emma Terebo. She set a new PB in the 100m backstroke, making her the eighth-fastest French woman ever in the event. Terebo won three races in the gala.
Yohann Ndoye Brouard collected a win in the 50m backstroke with a personal best of 24.91, putting him fifth on the list of all-time fastest French swimmers in the event.
European Championships the next bigger target for French swimmers
The 2002 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, is postponed until 2023. It leaves the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, in late July as the next big target for French swimmers.
Other major dates on the 2022 calendar include the LEN European Aquatics Championships in Rome.