One of the key sports events at international level brought the Principality foaming during this last weekend. Milestone of professional water sports, the 38th edition of the Monte Carlo International Swimming Meeting was held on the 29th and the 30th May 2021 at the Prince Albert II Nautical Centre (Louis II Stadium). The best teams worldwide gathered here in the footsteps of many former champions, notably H.S.H. Princess Charlene of Monaco who was awarded the gold medal for the 200m backstroke in 1996. Since its establishment in 1983, this contest has always had the support of the Monegasque Swimming Federation being constantly ahead of its time in experiencing new challenges. In 1994, a synergic partnership with Barcelona (Cataluña, Spain) and Canet-en-Roussillon (France) gave birth to Mare Nostrum, a leading three-stage Mediterranean Swimming Championship for high-level swimmers, ready to play the victory at the hundredth of a second. Finally, the Mare Nostrum Trophy was created in 1997 aimed at celebrating the top-five best competitors in all locations.
Backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle and medley as for 50, 100, 200 and 400 metres had kept the audience eyes glued to the water for two days. The participation of all teams assumed a particular meaning this year after the pandemic lockdown. “Swimmers from more than thirty different countries are guided by a tenfold energy and motivation to be qualified for the Olympic Games and the 2022 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka (Japan)”, stressed H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, President of Fédération Monégasque de Natation (Monaco’s Swimming Federation).
H.E. Yvette Lambin-Berti (Y.L.-B) Secretary General of the Monegasque Olympic Committee and Vice-President of the Monegasque Swimming Federation, reaffirmed exclusively for HelloMonaco this special meaning.
Hello Monaco: Her Excellency, what spirit comes to enliven this year Meeting?
Y.L.-B: It was important to organize this event essentially aimed at athletes by offering them to participate in a competition, as a gift after a long period of rest. We are very pleased to succeed.
HelloMonaco: How do you consider the response in terms of participation?
Y.L.-B: It is definitely very positive. Not everyone could be present due to sanitary regulations but we have a high-level plateau and I hope for them that their performances will help them for the selection at the Olympic Games.
HelloMonaco: What role does swimming play in the Principality?
Y.L.-B: We are talking more about amateur swimming. But, yes, we expect very good results from our Monegasque swimmers in the future since we have a promising team.
Let’s see what moods vibrated among the swimming champions in this edition of Mare Nostrum. HelloMonaco felt the pulse collecting some inspiring feedbacks.
Chad Le Clos (C.L-C.) South Africa – Swimming Federation of South Africa
4 Olympic Medals – 7 World Swimming Championships
HelloMonaco: Chad, how do you feel attending Mare Nostrum in the same Nautical Stadium where Princess Charlene of Monaco triumphed some time ago?
C.L-C.: It is amazing. I feel honoured every time I come back to Monaco and so thankful to Princess Charlene and the Sovereign Prince to give me this chance. My last participation here was four years ago. The Principality and Monegasque citizens were really great and everyone in the staff, including volunteers and the kids, were very helpful. So, hopefully, now I have come back soon after the pandemic.
HelloMonaco: What is the best way to train and what motivates you to win?
C.L-C.: I feel all the responsibility on my shoulders to succeed in the best way not only because of my Country but for all supporters I have around the World, also through Social Media. I am part of a huge proud family and it is a great pleasure to represent my nationality and my heritage, trying to set as a good example for everybody including next generations. My goal is to keep on winning since I feel I have a lot more to give as for swimming and for everything else. Professional swimming is my job and my life. Thus, it is just to keep a high level as much as I can. The mind is always stronger than the body. Unfortunately, Covid-19 destroyed many people not only for the virus but affecting their minds so it is always essential to find the positive side of everything. The true happiness is always the most important thing!
Luca Dotto (L.C.) Italy – C.S. Carabinieri
2 World Medals – 8 European Swimming Championships
HelloMonaco: Luca, how do you feel attending this International Meet?
L.D.: It is paramount. Apart from 2020 hard times, this year I suffered from a serious injury in the back that forced me to a specific training to recover my physical potential. Therefore, facing the three stages at Mare Nostrum is the perfect opportunity to test my level of preparation. The best part of this challenge is being able to compete many times at the highest levels over a whole week in three stunning locations. Then, I am looking forward to the Trofeo Sette Colli (Seven Hills Trophy) that will be held in Rome in one month, my last time to rank me for the Olympics.
HelloMonaco: What is more important to give the best of yourself?
L.D.: The real secret is amusement even if top performances need seriousness and concentration. Only when you have fun while you are swimming then you are really strong. This is what keeps my spirit high and I hope it will do so for a long time.
Florent Manaudou (F.M.) France – CN Marseille
3 Olympic Medals – 4 World Championships – 7 European Championships
HelloMonaco: Florent, what are your objectives in view of the Olympics?
F.M.: I am trying to win as much as I can by now, then I will be really under pressure. And Let’s see what happens.
HelloMonaco: Did you recover the adrenaline and spontaneity you were missing?
F.M.: Not completely since I still have to face several 50 m freestyle competitions and there are still a few weeks to wait before the start of Tokyo 2021. Now, I focus on balancing the technique between start and end of each race.
In Women Category the multi-award winning Yuliya Efimova, from Russia excelled in all races and was awarded the gold medal for the 200 m Breaststroke Women and 50 m Breaststroke Women (Speed Tournament), during the official ceremony on Sunday afternoon in the presence of the Sovereign Prince and other distinguished guests. An excellent result for her and for all other finalists in view of the next Olympic challenge.
Final Results (Sunday 30th May 2021)
400 m Medley Men: Knipping Arjan – Netherlands – Time: 4:16.24
400 m Freestyle Women: Pou Lisa – France AS. SP. Monaco Natation – Time: 4:24.92
100 m Butterfly Men: Le Clos Chad Guy Bertrand – South Africa – Time: 52.45
200 m Butterfly Women: Mata Cocco Maria José – Mexico – Time: 2:09.57
200 m Backstroke Men: Brun Christophe – France – Time: 1:59.79
200 m Backstroke Women: Toussaint Kira – Netherlands – Time: 59.41
100 m Breaststroke Men: Bayer Valentin – Austria – Time: 1:01.46
200 m Breaststroke Women: Efimova Yuliya – Russia – Time: 2:25.61
200 m Freestyle Men: Zirk Kregor – Estonia – Time: 1:47.01
100 m Freestyle Women: Bonnet Charlotte – France – Time: 54.12
200 m Medley Women: Hosszu Katinka – Hungary – Time: 2:13.14
Speed Tournament (Sunday 30th May 2021)
50 m Butterfly Men: Cheruti Meiron – Israel – Time: 23.43
50 m Butterfly Women: Guillamon Novo Alba – Cataluña Spain – Time: 27.38
50 m Backstroke Men: Segura Juan Francisco – Spain – Time: 25.27
50 m Backstroke Women: Toussaint Kira – Netherlands – Time: 27.67
50 m Breaststroke Men: De Lara Ojeda Miguel-Alejandro – Mexico – Time: 28.07
50 m Breaststroke Women: Efimova Yuliya – Russia – Time: 30.37
50 m Freestyle Men: De Boer Thom – Netherlands – Time: 21.62
50 m Freestyle Women: Blume Pernille – Denmark – Time: 24.34