Swimming: Maxime Grousset on top of the world

Monday, 31 july 2023

Maxime Grousset, a swimmer supported by the Caisse d’Epargne Ile-de-France and Banque de Nouvelle Calédonie, had an outstanding week at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, winning three medals including gold in the 100m butterfly: a lifelong dream come true!

A deep-felt conviction

He gave a hard, triumphant slap on the surface of the water and raised his muscular arms high into the air to give emphatic expression of his sense of profound joy. Maxime Grousset, a swimmer supported by the Caisse d’Epargne Ile-de-France and Banque de Nouvelle Calédonie, isn’t usually so exuberant but he’d been waiting to enjoy this moment for such a long time! It’s so hard to become a world champion swimmer and there are so many sacrifices to make that it’s understandable if Maxime Grousset, 24, took a moment to exult in the fulfillment of a childhood dream! Because that’s what it was all about in Fukuoka: the long-awaited and sudden fulfillment of a deep-felt conviction that he had harbored since childhood: the certainty he has always felt that, one day, he would become world champion. And this is what makes all the difference; this is the principal quality of a champion!

Maxime Grousset is, of course, a gifted swimmer but that’s not the only reason he became world champion in the 100m butterfly event in Fukuoka. When all his friends in New Caledonia were enjoying themselves doing fun sports such as surfing and kiteboarding, he never strayed from his frequently exacting swimming regimen. He loves his sporting discipline intensely and manages to inject a certain playfulness in his preparation, for example, by frequently challenging his training partners in the pool. But above and beyond these lighthearted moments, he has willingly accepted the enormous workload required to achieve this result: this incredible time of 50.14 seconds in the final, a performance that shattered all previous French records.

4th most successful medalist in the history of French swimming

He also needed to cross paths with a coach who suited him. This happened when he chose the Amiens training center and Michel Chrétien, a proficient yet also compassionate coach. And that’s important when you’re just 16 years old and left your native New Caledonia – and your family – to come all the way to metropolitan France. But he has always maintained strong ties with his family, and his parents were there in the stands of the Fukuoka pool to witness his consecration as champion.

It’s this emotional stability and combination of talent, commitment, good coaching and strong family ties that enabled Maxime to reach this pinnacle in his career, the title of world champion! But that’s not the end of the story for him. Maxime Grousset is a newcomer to this discipline, having swum the 100m butterfly very little at the competition level. He consequently enjoys considerable potential for improvement. And, between now and next year’s key rendezvous, he has time to improve, both in the butterfly and the 100m freestyle event, the major distance in which he won a magnificent bronze medal in Japan. This medal came on top of his bronze in the 50m butterfly race. So, added to his medal from last year’s World Championships, Maxime Grousset is now, as far as individual medals are concerned, the 4th most successful French medalist in the history of the World Championships. Finally, in the 4x100m medley relay, the French team came in 4th place, but Maxime swam the 2nd-fastest 100m butterfly stage in history…  

The months ahead will be tough but extremely exciting. The Olympic Games Paris 2024 are taking on new meaning for him. But he’s not the kind of athlete to rest on his laurels. He’ll quickly be getting back to work at the INSEP training center next to the Bois de Vincennes east of Paris under the keen, yet kindly, eye of Michel Chrétien.