Since the World Cup in Budapest in June, French swimming has been back in the spotlight after a difficult few years. With eight sprint medals, two of them gold, and a new generation finally coming of age, the Blues have relaunched the machine at just the right time, two years before the Paris Olympics. On the occasion of the start of the European Championships on Thursday, August 11, the coach of the Insep (National Institute of Sport, Experience and Performance) Michel Chrétien, who looks after Maxime Grousset in particular, talks about this renewal on franceinfo: sport .
Franceinfo: sport: How did the French team prepare despite this short time between Budapest and Rome?
Michel Chretien: The entire delegation spent a week in Vichy (Allier). The form is returning little by little, but surely we will leave the World Cup very tired. The hardest thing was recovering, but also to set a new goal for the European Championship. The distance between the two is small, so the problem was to take into account this exhaustion, both mental and physical.
With my swimmers, I changed our usual way of operating. We had to be more pragmatic and think in the short term. Since they reached the international chronometric level, I used it as a base and an asset for them to play this performance again. and that they use this confidence as the main engine of their success, if they are not optimally prepared.
The Blues come out of the World Cup successfully after several lean years. How to explain this rebirth?
The results are pretty cyclical unless you’re in the US, Russia, or China. This new generation is the result of work carried out a few years ago. Means have been implemented to allow these young to hatch,First at the coach level. They accompanied this generation from beginning to end without stopping. The athletes are not numerous, nor do we have a reserve of coaches and training places to allow for this renewal. This may explain the ups and downs.
One of the revelations of these World Cups is Maxime Grousset, a swimmer you train…
I am close to him like all my swimmers. I took very good care of him when he arrived from New Caledonia. What drives it is competition. He is not afraid in the end. He likes to play. For the little anecdote, before the 100m freestyle final in Budapest (where Grousset won the silver medal), he came to see me and told me that he would be on the podium, and that he even thought he could win. . He felt very strong. It’s Maxime, he has no barriers.
You took charge of the Insep swimming center of excellence in 2018. How do you judge its evolution?
The results inI don’t know They were quite fast because the means are much higher than those of the clubs. Here, an injured athlete is treated in fifteen minutes. In a club, the process is much longer. It is a great time saver. We can do much better in the future, but we have already unlocked the tools that allow us to look at the swimmer from all angles. Now I have a powerful video analysis system. I only have to press a button to see such a line or such a swimmer at any time. This is essential.
“I used my past experiences at Insep to establish an optimal performance system. It was not easy because swimming is not a king sport. But success leads to the media. My experience as a coach with Jérémy Stravius, and now with Maxime Grousset, also It has opened doors for me.”Michel Chrétien, swimming coach
on franceinfo: sport
Relations with the clubs have not always been good. Has this been a brake on the evolution of French swimming?
Previously, the structure was based on clubs and theI don’t know was not recognized. Clubs preferred by swimmers. We had to find a training structure and a team. You had to create a sense of belonging and behave like them. It was the first step. The means have also been deployed by the national technical management so that we can shine again.
How do these new relationships translate with other clubs?
I suggested that my colleagues come to be trained here at Insep. In particular, I proposed it to Florent. manaudu, so you can share your knowledge and enjoy the facilities here. But for a short time. I wish theI don’t know it becomes an information center and is used by everyone to revisit the training and media launched. I just want the France team to evolve, pwhile the swimmers change labels. I want them to stay in their club, but also come to us.
Did Florent Manaudou come?
He had come last winter, quickly. The door is always open.
The radical change is also the arrival of a man at the head of French swimming: the Dutchman Jacco Verhaeren…
Because of his results, he is someone we respect a lot. In our sport, we tend to listen to people in our inner circle. You have a nice business card. But more than that, it brings the Anglo-Saxon management. There is a lot of pragmatism. He has great ambition for the France team, without prejudice. He has a high-level vision and nothing else. He wants a great team from France. He is the link between everyone, the staff and the swimmers. He communicates with everyone and does not forget anyone.
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