He represents the next generation of French men’s sprint. After Alain Bernard, Florent Manaudou or even Frédéric Bousquet, Maxime Grousset is, at 23, one of the greatest chances of a French medal on the queen distance, the 100 meter freestyle, at the European Championships in Rome, which started Thursday, August 11.
While he is playing the series on his favorite distance on Friday, his trainer, Michel Chrétien, as well as the manager ofe the data of the physiological and analytical monitoring of the race of the athletes within of the French Swimming Federation, Robin Pla, analyzed for franceinfo: sport the technical characteristics of the swimmer from New Caledonia.
The resident of Insep (National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance) is not the largest, nor the most powerful, but it presents a hybrid profile over this distance. “He’s someone who has very little body fat, he’s 5% so it’s just muscle. As it is not so big, it is light for a sprinter, its power to weight ratio is very good“, explains Robin Pla. He uses this advantage from the start of a race. “For thrust, it is clearly the best of Insep. We’ve been working on it for two years“, adds the technical adviser. With video analysis in support, they also work once a week on the curve of entry into the water in order to limit the loss of speed.
On the first 15 meters authorized for casting, Maxime Grousset has learned not to do like the others. “Il does not go up to 15 meters unlike a [Florent] Manaudou, because he wants to benefit from maximum speed at the end of the casting and he will be less good than Florent on the last undulations. It is better for him to come out at 12 meters to maximize his speed. If it misses one or two ripples, it will lose exit speed“, explains Pla.
Five or even six ripples before rising to the surface, it is the good compromise chosen after analysis. “Maxime is a 100m swimmer for physiological reasons. To be the best in the world over 50 m, he would have to win on his casting. Above it, it is below a [Caeleb] Dressel even if it is close.“
Particularly consistent from one race to another, the Frenchman remains in control throughout the first part of his effort. “That sets him apart from Alain Bernard and Florent Manaudou who threw the sauce from the first 50 and then tried to hold on. It happened with jumpsuits, less so with swimsuits. Maxime makes the go slack before letting go then“, explains Pla.”He must be at around 52/53 cycles per minute and he manages to keep this intensity throughout the race at the same level. Where a Manaudou will be at 60 cycles on the first 50 meters before dropping“, adds the analyst.
At the bend, again, it stands out, with “flows shorter than the others, about 8 meters, while Dressel will be 10 meters”. As for the start, “it does not push more because otherwise it would lose speed”. For Robin Pla, Grousset “Will come out with speeds similar to the others and that’s why he’s better in the long course. On the first cast, he has an advantage, it’s his pushing force that will allow him to compensate. Which is less the case on the way back, but then it’s the best“.
All the qualities of the French are expressed on this return sentence. First thanks to its physical box. “He eats an average of 50 terminals per week while Manaudou is 15/20 kilometers away, I think. Britain’s Ben Proud [champion du monde 2022 sur 50 m libre]it is even less“says Robin Pla.
“He has explosiveness and power, less than a Manaudou and a Bernard, but he has a great resistance, superior to them. On the second 50 meters, he is one of the best in the world. Only, perhaps, the Australian Kyle Chalmers [champion olympique du 100 mètres nage libre en 2016, en argent à Tokyo] does as well.”
It is also in this part of the race, at the end of the casting, that the Frenchman can express his tactical sense, with “strategies based on adversity and race,” says Michel Chrétien, his trainer. “The one-day race is not the beautiful mechanics that we are going to put in place. You have to deal with the stress.” However, the coach assures him : “What drives Maxime is competition. He is not afraid in the final”. Better, his swimmer “likes to play”
“He masters the game of lying poker to perfection. During the jump-off for the 50m final at the last Worlds against Bruno Fratus, we knew that the Brazilian did not have a very fast start but an enormous acceleration between 25 and 35 meters . I asked Max to speed up that stretch to surprise him. He did and he won.”Michel Chrétien, trainer of Maxime Grousset
at franceinfo: sport
Facing 17-year-old prodigy David Popovici in Budapest, the 100m final is the perfect example of this talent. “Tactically, the Romanian is a metronome. When he is in calm water, he goes very fast. But Maxime, with his progress, is able to accelerate in the second 50 meters and constantly relaunch. There is no collapse in his swimming. At the chronometric level, he is at 48.5 when a Popovici will be at 48.1. But we knew that if he attacked him, around 75 meters, he would put a grain of sand in the wheels. And a metronome when you shake it, it pitches“, develops Christian.
Assaulted by the Frenchman, the Bucharest speedboat completely thwarted, setting a time far from his standards, he who hoped to break a new world record over the distance. He finished with a time of 47.58, six hundredths ahead of Grousset, not far from achieving the perfect shot.
A less controlled end of the race may have cost him the gold. “In the Budapest final, he did less well than in the half on the sidelinesJudge Robin Pla. It’s a concentration, an ability not to breathe on the last strokes.”
Silver medalist in the 100 meters and tanned in the 50 meters at the Worlds, Maxime Grousset knew how to put his versatility to use in his swimming. “He’s not much better than the others at one thing in particular, but he’s good everywhere”, summarizes Robin Pla. He intends to show it once again, in Rome.
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