It’s a hell of a nice surprise. At 30, Damien Joly has finally received the reward for flawless work and self-sacrifice triggered by the entire small world of French swimming for years. Tuesday, in a race that expected three monsters, the native of Ollioules and captain of the France team adorned himself with bronze at the European Championships in Rome, catching his first career international medal.
“At 30, first international medal behind the beefy ones, I’m super happy”he said, calmly, at the end of a race where he will have “cut off the head” of the German, Forian Wellbrock at halfway, before resisting the return of the Italian, Domenico Acerenza.
In front, the Ukrainian Mykhaylo Romanchuk (14’36”10) and the Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri (14’39”79) were untouchable, but Damien Joly was formidably constant in the effort, finishing the race in 14’50”86. “I knew it was going to go fast, there was no point going with them, I said to myself, do your race, I stayed focused on me “, he explained.
Seventh over the distance at the Rio Olympics in 2016, Joly then experienced a more delicate period, without ever ceasing to swallow the kilometers, under the watchful eye of his trainer, Philippe Lucas. Until this pretty bronze Tuesday in Rome.