ENTRETIEN. Championnats d’Europe de natation 2022 : après les galères, Charlotte Bonnet savoure sa renaissance, “tel un phénix”

ENTRETIEN. Championnats d'Europe de natation 2022 : après les galères, Charlotte Bonnet savoure sa renaissance, "tel un phénix"

We left Charlotte Bonnet on Friday, August 12, eyes red with excitement. The Frenchwoman then struggled to find the words in the mixed zone to describe her joy and relief after her silver medal in the 100m freestyle at the European Swimming Championships in Rome. She had been waiting four years for an individual amulet.

During these difficult years, he alternated between physical problems, including a shoulder injury, and psychological problems. At just 25 years old, the question arose as to whether or not to stop his career. Covid-19 and lockdowns have not helped.

After eleven years under Fabrice Pellerin, Charlotte Bonnet left Nice to join Philippe Lucas in Martigues (Bouches-du-Rhône) last September, after the failed Tokyo Games. She rebooted the machine there. The Budapest World Cup confirmed the beginnings of her return, with a sixth place in the 200 free meters. Rome was the place of her rebirth. With four medals, including a gold in the 4×100 meter mixed relay, the Frenchwoman trusts Franceinfo: sport.

Franceinfo: sport: How did you feel when you won the silver medal in the 100m freestyle?

Charlotte Bonnet: When I hit the wall, I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t win, but I quickly put things into perspective. I quickly tell myself that I have been waiting for this for 4 years, that I am struggling, that I have not had an individual medal. The excitement quickly took over. It’s a silver medal, I’m runner-up in Europe, it’s incredible!

After complicated years, you are back at the highest level…

Getting behind these galleys and winning again, are the most beautiful moments we can experience. I went through so many things… There are people who didn’t believe in me, who abandoned me. There is a feeling of revenge and above all pride. It is the reward for the effort made. I have the feeling of being reborn like a phoenix.

Behind this success there is a man: Philippe Lucas. What brought you?

Many things. It was a construction site when I arrived with him in September. I resumed after two and a half months off. I thought I would quit smoking completely. There were many things to redo. Today I am happier, more fulfilled. I found pleasure. I am not 100% like before because there are failures and demons that can resurface, but there are many changes and I keep the positive.

We saw you talk to him a lot before the competition. What were his words?

He did not have a particular speech. We talk a lot every day. Both he and I know each other. There is a strong bond between us. I’m getting to an age (27) where I need that.

You also shone in the mixed 4x100m freestyle with a gold medal. The first since Glasgow in 2018…

This medal greatly rewards work, although it is not worth an individual medal. I am capable of letting go, of shouting, of crying when it is shared with a relay. It was incredible.

Did you talk to Marie Wattel before the relay, when she had just lost gold in the 100 butterfly?

I told him to switch directly to the relay. It’s not easy, but we really had our cards to play. I said, “I trust you will change your mood and put this disappointment behind you.” He knew how to do it perfectly. We didn’t exchange much, but I trusted him to hide this frustration and give everything for the relief. We had a title to look up.

“Having experienced difficulties makes you realize even more how precious these moments are. That’s what I told Marie. It can be useless to be last or at the foot of the podium. That’s what made me savor these moments even more.” medals”.

Charlotte Bonnet, runner-up in Europe in the 100 m free

on franceinfo: sport

The great satisfaction of these European Championships is the confirmation of the return to the forefront of the French speed team. What is your evaluation?

Frankly, we are a magnificent team. We created something strong in Budapest. We tried to perpetuate that in Vichy before the Europas. with Maria [Wattel], we were captains for the first time during these championships. We try with our experience to create a real team. It’s not easy because we are 30 swimmers but we all eat together, talk to each other, we haven’t experienced that in the French team for a long time. This is the secret of success. When there is a good osmosis, a good atmosphere, it makes you want to act.

What are the goals now?

The Paris Games in 2024 are the main goal, but there are other deadlines before that. I don’t want to rush them. Each event, I want to manage it as well as possible to reach the Olympic Games in top form.


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