Camille Muffat (FRA)
Honor Swimmer (2016)
FOR THE RECORD: 2012 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (400m freestyle), silver (200m freestyle), bronze (4x200m freestyle)
Camille Muffat began swimming competitively at Club Olympic Nice Natation, at the age of nine. Training under coach Fabrice Pellerin, Camille first came to prominence in 2005, when she upset 2004 Olympic Champion Laure Manaudou in the 200-meter individual medley at the French Nationals. She was just 15 years old. A few months later, she won the same event at the European Junior Championships in Budapest, along with a silver medal in the 100-meter freestyle.
In 2007, Camille won her first European senior title in the 200-meter Individual Medley at the European Short Course Swimming Championships in Debrecen, Hungary. In 2008, she won her first European long course title in the same event at the European Championships in Eindhoven, Netherlands. That same year, Camille qualified individually for the Beijing Olympic Games in both the 200 and 400-meter individual medley, as well as a spot on the French 4×200 freestyle relay. Unfortunately, she only qualified for the finals in the relay event, where the French team finished fifth.
While Camille was talented in all four strokes, and always gave 100%, she seemed to hit a plateau in IM after such a promising start back in 2005. Meanwhile, Fabrice Pellerin noticed improvement in her freestyle, and in early 2010 he told his discouraged swimmer it was time to make a decision – to focus on either the IM or the freestyle. Camille chose the freestyle, and it was a decision that turned a good swimmer into a great one.
A few months later, she swam to four gold medals at the French Nationals in 50, 100, 200 and the 400-meter freestyle, breaking the national record in the 100. Then, at the 2010 FINA Short Course World Championships in Dubai, she won her first world title in the 200-meter freestyle. The next year, at the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai, Camille reached the podium in both the 200 and 400-meter freestyle, winning bronze in both events. She was close enough to Federica Pellegrini, the world record holder in both events, to understand what was possible if she dedicated herself to training in the year ahead.
At the 2012 London Games, Camille reached the pinnacle of her career when she won gold in the 400-meter freestyle with a new Olympic record, a silver in the 200-meter freestyle, and helped the French relay team win a bronze medal.
Camille continued swimming after London, but on July 12, 2014, just prior to the European Championships, she announced her retirement from competitive swimming at age 24.
Tragically, on March 9, 2015, Camille Muffat was filming a French reality show, “Dropped”, when the helicopter she was traveling in crashed and she and other members of the cast and crew were killed. In her memory, the Mayor of Nice inaugurated the City’s Olympic pool “Piscine Camille Muffat.” She will forever be remembered at the International Swimming Hall of Fame as a fierce competitor, loving person and an inspiration for future generations.