A string of successes for French swimmers and fencers!

Thursday, 14 december 2023

A most successful week for French swimmers and fencers supported by Groupe BPCE companies… With several medals awarded in the European short course swimming championships and triumphs in the Fencing World Cup, we celebrate a series of positive signs just a few months before the Olympic & Paralympic Games Paris 2024!

Tomac and Grousset, improvement and continuity

The European short course swimming championships were particularly favorable for our French swimmers and, more particularly, for a young talent who enjoyed his first international successes at this venue, namely Mewen Tomac, a swimmer supported by Banque Populaire du Nord. This 22-year-old from Normandy was one of the sensations of the French delegation in Bucharest with two promising gold medals (in the 50m and 100m backstroke events) before going on to win bronze in the 200m backstroke and a silver medal with the French mixed 4x50m medley relay.

His performance in Romania consequently gave him four medals, including two European championship titles, proof of the regularity of his progress driven by an appetite for hard work and a scrupulous attention to every detail of his training regime. At the same time, Maxime Gousset, a swimmer supported by the Caisse d’Epargne Ile-de-France and more accustomed to winning medals than Mewen, is pursuing his path of excellence as he gears up his preparation for Paris 2024. He won the 100m freestyle, a particularly high-profile and eagerly awaited event considering that the lineup included David Popovici, a local swimmer very much in the public eye. But the public’s preference didn’t prevent Maxime Grousset from claiming gold, a victory that he rounded off with both silver and bronze medals, respectively in the 100m and 50m individual butterfly events. These successes follow on from the magnificent 100m butterfly world championship title that he won this summer… The crucial moment will come later when he’ll have to decide, with the help of his highly experienced coach, Michel Chrétien, which races he’ll be competing in during the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

French fencers in top form in Orléans

The French fencers enjoyed an equally successful weekend. Taking part in different events around the world, our athletes showed the same determination… especially the saber fencers, who were competing at home in France at the World Cup event in Orléans. It’s a tournament particularly well suited to Manon Apithy-Brunet, as testified by the fact that the French saber fencer, supported by CASDEN Banque Populaire, won for the 3rd time in her career. She first emerged victorious from her Franco-French duel with World No.1 Sara Balzer, a fencer from Alsace supported by the Caisse d’Epargne Grand Est Europe who, after winning a bronze medal in Orléans, confirms the consistency of her performance at the highest level with a whole succession of medals (this latest tournament represents her 5th World Cup podium in a row). After her inevitably fraught victory over a team-mate, Manon went on to beat Ukraine’s Olga Kharlan, demonstrating immense composure in the final. Trailing 8-2, a situation in saber fencing that frequently proves impossible to reverse, she nevertheless managed to turn the tide and unsettle her opponent’s fencing to win 15-12. 

The crowning piece of good news is that a 3rd Frenchwoman was on the podium in Orléans. This was one of the weekend’s big surprises, as Cécilia Berder hadn’t managed to reach one of the top three positions in an individual World Cup event for more than two years (it should be remembered that after her team silver medal in Tokyo, Cécilia, supported by the Caisse d’Epargne Loire-Centre, gave birth to a child). Her new success marks a timely return to the highest level. France’s female saber fencers are making a strong impression this Olympic season. The men saber fencers were not to be outdone, however, as Maxime Pianfetti, 24, supported by CASDEN Banque Populaire and a graduate of the saber school in Tarbes in southwest France, won a splendid silver medal that will enable him to score points towards Olympic qualification. 

Far away from France, on the Pacific coast in Vancouver, Coraline Vitalis, a fencer supported by BRED, pulled off a magnificent feat by winning the Canadian World Cup epee stage. The 28-year-old Guadeloupean demonstrated her mastery in the final, beating Argentina’s Isabel Di Tella 13-12 by a touch to round off a fine weekend of French fencing.