From Gran Canaria to the podium in Paris: Olivier’s challenge

After Tokyo, Spanish swimming looks with one eye at the Fukuoka World Cup in May and with the other observe Paris 2024, which is just around the corner, but not so much for a generation of swimmers approaching the usual age of retirement. There are few things for sure at the moment, one of them, internationally, has been the decision of the French Olympic medalist Marc Antoine Olivier training at the CN Metropole de Gran Canaria with Fred Vergnoux.

The Mireia Belmonte coach since 2010 has experienced a turning point in this 2021. He has dissociated himself from the Royal Spanish Swimming Federation (RFEN), in which he held the position of team leader, and has transferred his training center to the Metropole, a club that has bet heavily on energizing his swimming. It has not yet transpired where his group will train, with Mireia and the Olympians Alberto Martínez and Jimena Pérez, both participants in Tokyo 2020.

While waiting to hear this news, the Frenchman Olivier has decided to join the new Vergnoux project, which in recent years has specialized in open water, a discipline that he already tried to include in Mireia Belmonte’s program for Rio Games in 2016 and who swam in the 2014 Berlin European Championship. In recent years he has been at the forefront of the preparation of Martínez and, briefly, of Paula Ruiz, the Olympian in the female category.

Change of scene after the emergence of a generation

Trained forever with Philippe Lucas, one of the gurus of open water, Olivier stood out in 2015 and in Rio 2016 he arrived in a position to fight for the Olympic gold. Finally he settled for the bronze in the 10 kilometers along the waters of Copacabana. From there, he continued as one of the best swimmers on the world circuit. His track record attests to it: two golds, one silver and one world bronze; and two European silver and one bronze.

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France has stood out since the arrival of the technical director Stephane Lécat as one of the great powers of the world open waters thanks to its training systems and having bet on a young generation. Olivier, in an interview with the FINE in March, he commented on the following: This young generation and the experience and knowledge of Stephane Lecat made the French team triumph and they reached our first podiums, for example in the 10km with Aurelie Muller and myself at the Olympics. This collaboration has opened many doors and a better formation and preparation of the young people, said. Now Olivier changes of scene and will be part of the Vergnoux team.

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