New Caledonian Maxime Grousset, an athlete supported by the Caisse d'Epargne Ile-de-France, put up a great performance at the World Championships in Hungary, winning a silver medal in the 100-meter freestyle race and a bronze in the 50m event.
The stuff of greatness
There are two kinds of athletes: those who are terrified by the competition and the stakes involved, and those who draw strength from the pressure of major events. It goes without saying that all great champions belong to the second category, and Maxime Grousset is clearly one of them. It’s in those last few minutes before the final when the pressure is rising and stress begins to constrict the air in your lungs that Maxime manages to keep his breathing relaxed. And it’s thanks to this calm and self-control that his wildest dreams are within his reach!
This is what he demonstrated last week at the World Swimming Championships in Budapest. He set out to find within himself the athlete he had long been looking for. Of course, he’d obtained a magnificent – and so promising! – 4th place last summer in Tokyo in the 100-meter event… to the effect that all swimming aficionados were eagerly awaiting his performance in Hungary less than one year later. And Maxime didn’t fail to rise to their expectations! He began by winning a fantastic silver medal in the 100m, an event sometimes called the ‘queen of races.’ It takes courage to claim a place on the podium of a major 100m freestyle championship race. That's what he achieved… and yet he remained frustrated at letting the gold medal slip from his grasp when he clocked in at 47.64 seconds behind the 47.58 achieved by the winner, the Romanian David Popovici, a swimmer with immense future promise considering he’s only 17 years of age. But this very frustration is the mark of a champion, all those for whom only absolute victory is truly satisfying!
Under the guidance of Michel Chrétien
But these few hundredths of a second will be driving his determination every day in the coming months at the INSEP training center in the sessions designed by Michel Chrétien. Maxime first met this coach in Amiens when freshly arrived from his native New Caledonia, and he followed him to train in the facilities in the Bois de Vincennes east of Paris. After his 2nd place in the 100m, and thanks to the quality of the work done in France, he managed to win a 2nd medal – the bronze this time – in the 50m event with a time of 21.57 seconds, a real achievement. Few French swimmers have managed to claim two medals in sprint events in the same championships. You have to remember champions of the caliber of Plewinski, Bousquet, and Bernard to appreciate the level of the performance. And to achieve all of this at the age of twenty-three! We are still two years away from the Olympic Games Paris 2024... but there’s no need to get unduly excited! Maxime Grousset remains calm and will go back to training, buoyed up by the confidence given to him by his performance in Hungary and by his desire to conquer the world, a legitimate ambition when you’re still as young as he is. He wrapped up these World Championships with a 5th place with the 4x100m medley relay.
The future is his for the taking!