Road to Paris: French-Born Swimmer to Pose Incredible Threat to Team USA at the Mega Games

Published 02/07/2024, 11:45 AM EST

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The scene is prepared for an aquatic extravaganza during the 2024 World Aquatics Championships in Doha. Here, established winners hope to adorn their already renowned careers with further glitter to make it to the road to Paris. Meanwhile, up-and-coming athletes aim to leave their mark on the annals of aquatic history.

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Amidst the excitement, a France-born Monegasque swimmer entered the Doha tournament aiming to earn a coveted spot in the top thirteen in the European Championships. The 24-year-old came off as a powerful force, determined to challenge the supremacy of teams like Team USA.

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The daughter of AS Monaco’s general coach Michel Pou, Lisa Pou, had been training with the AS Monaco club for over a decade, and relocated from the national team to representing Monaco after winning the French qualifier—2023 World Championships. Fresh off Nice  Prom’Swim’s win, Pou’s road to Paris came to a turning point in Doha, where she placed ninth in the 10km open water race – just seven seconds behind the gold-winning Dutchwoman Sharon Van Rouwendaal reported Monaco Tribune.

Pou considers her achievement to be significant, saying, “It’s the culmination of many years of hard work. It’s a lifetime’s investment. But in all honestly, I never dared hope that I’d qualify for the Olympics.”

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She will have six months to prepare for this opportunity of a lifetime. While she recently admitted that there’s no preparation program with her coach, who is none other than her father Michel, also a former Olympian, she looks forward to giving it her all. Her discipline, open water event, will take place on August 8 and 9 in the Seine. “I’m not the type to set the bar too high, so I’m not disappointed in the end. A top 10 would suit me, but it’s still too early,” she said, as reported by ‘La Gazette de Monaco’.

With this achievement, she is the first Monegasque athlete to qualify officially. It is expected that her fellow countrymen will follow suit in the coming weeks.

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Meet the American open-water qualifiers

Swimming will be contested by 852 participants at Paris Olympics 2024, with each NOC being granted a maximum of 26 female quotas. The powerhouse in aquatic events, Team USA, is well prepared for the task. Recently, Mariah Denigan earned Team USA’s second Olympic qualifier by placing sixth in the 10K open water event at the World Aquatic Championships in Doha.

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At just 17, Katie Grimes was the first American to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympic squad after winning the bronze medal in a 10km open-water event at the 2023 World Swimming Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. Now, can Lisa Pou upend the story and challenge Team USA’s defending champions as the stage is set for a confrontation in Paris? Awaiting with bated breath is the watery arena.

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Written by:

Divya Purohit

710Articles

One take at a time

Hi there! I am Divya Purohit, and I am a Olympics sports writer at EssentiallySports. As an avid sports junkie I delved in the world of sports journalism and started crafting content around my favorite athletes. By means of my distinct storytelling approach, I provide perceptive viewpoints on diverse sports stories.
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Edited by:

Sampurna Pal

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