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Friday, January 24, 2014

Stéphane Lecat Trying To Grow Eau Libre

Stéphane Lecat, Directeur de L'Eau libre for the Fédération Française de Natation is responsible for the discipline of open water swimming for the French Swimming Federation.

Beginning in March 2013, Lecat, a former professional marathon swimmer, has seen his mission to organize open water swimming both on a developmental level and to provide access to the highest levels of the sport.

He explains, "Regarding the development of open water swimming in France, we have a great track called "Coupe de France Free Water" which includes 38 stages in 38 cities, including 4 in DomTom French Antilles, between June and September. However, the number of participants on these stages is too small. One of my goals in this initiative is to achieve and organize several stages with over 3,000 swimmers. Today, a swim of this size exists only on one stage in Annecy in August."

One of the fastest marathon swimmers of his era, Lecat is implementing changes to elevate the discipline. "At the top level, I changed the way of qualifications. For the elite team of France's best swimmers who wish to participate in international competitions like the FINA World Championships, the Olympic Games and the European Championships, they must above all meet a time in the 800m and 1500m in a 50m pool between September and early April. Swimmers who have achieved this time can then participate in the European LEN Cup in Eilat, Israel in late April. This will determine who will participate in the next European Championships that will be held in Berlin in 2014.

We also set up a test spécific to 10 km with the Research Department of the French Swimming Federation for all junior and senior swimmers who have the potential to be competitive at the Olympics in Rio [in 2016].

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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