Florent Manaudou has not only changed his haircut: he almost has “the ball at zero” for, he laughs, “enjoy the sun in Antibes”, in the outdoor pool where he has been training since January. He also changed his life.
Leaving the Cercle des Nageurs de Marseille after the Tokyo Olympics, he took a long break before settling down in the Alpes-Maritimes. “It’s a somewhat special year, I changed my training location, I started in mid-Januarydevelops Florent Manaudou. I took the pleasure a little elsewhere while making my mark with the new coaches.” “I can’t expect to work miracles at these world championships”concludes Florent Manaudou, eliminated in the semi-finals of the 50m butterfly on June 18.
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It’s not a lack of ambition, but the man who was crowned Olympic champion in the 50m freestyle in London ten years ago is realistic. “I know the main objective is Paris 2024 and I took this year on purpose to be fresh for the next two years.” In Paris in two years, he will be looking for a fourth individual medal in the 50m in as many Olympics (after gold in 2012, silver in 2016 and 2021), which no one has yet achieved.
Getting closer to Antibes is also a lifestyle choice made by Florent Manaudou. His two new coaches, Quentin Coton and Yoris Grandjean, are close friends, they are around the same age as him. It is therefore easier to communicate with them. “I am more involved in my preparation, ensures the swimmer. I’m also learning that I need to scatter myself less on sponsor stuff for the next two years. This year, I did it at will but there are trips that were not necessarily useful.
“He seems very happy to meconfirms Quentin Coton. To rub shoulders with him in everyday life and in training, it shows on his face. When he arrives at the pool, we drink coffee and play basketball. The pleasure of being together has a lot to do with the pleasure of being at the pool. Of course, there are ups and downs and swimming is not always a fun sport, we don’t play. But we make sure that the program we offer him pleases him.
And this first objective seems to be fulfilled when we listen to Florent Manaudou, who returned to swimming after a long break devoted to handball (between 2017 and 2019). “When I go to training, there’s almost no time anymore where I go backwards, where I tell myself that it’s going to be hard. When I go there, I have the impression of go see my friends and it’s pretty cool.”
“I can count on my coaches when I’m in the pool and in bodybuilding, I can count on my friends in my daily life.”Florent Manaudou
For these world championships in Budapest, the ambitions of Florent Manaudou, four world gold medals including three in Kazan in 2015, remain very measured. But his role is also essential elsewhere: he is one of the two captains, with Mélanie Hénique, of the France team. A role he takes very seriously. “I have a lot more desire to transmit since my return. I did not have the time and I was far from being the oldest until 2016. I had less need and this desire. It made me immediately liked when I did not think it would be a good role for me. The younger ones watch what the older ones do and I find it pleasant.”
A burst of freshness among the Blues that he provides “love”. While waiting to find his level to compete with the best, Florent Manaudou has only one word in his mouth: pleasure!