The innovative « Nageur et Citoyen » program is bringing together four leading French swimmers to learn and discover swimming in sensitive areas. Eiffage Construction wanted to support this program initiated by Sophie Kamoun, former Olympic swimmer, and Lazreg Benelhajd, President of the Comité Départemental 92 pf Swimming, becoming one of the official partners to help swimmers to finance their preparation for the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games.
Faced with inequalities in access to swimming with sometimes dramatic consequences, 4 swimming champions decided to become ambassadors of the « Nageur et Citoyen » program :
- Charlotte Bonnet, Triple European Champion 2018 in large pool on 200m freestyle swimming, 4x100m women’s freestyle swimming and 4x100m mixed and Bronze Medalist at the 2012 Olympics with relay 4x200m NL,
- Fantine Lesaffre, European Champion 2018 on 400m 4 swims and bronze medalist in small pool at the 2018 World Championships
- Mehdy Metella, World Champion and Vice Olympic Champion of 4x100m free swimming and Bronze Medalist at the 2017 World Championships on 100m free swimming
- Maxime Grousset, Junior World Vice-Champion on 50m NL & European Champion 2018 with the relay 4x100m mixed freestyle swimming
These great swimmers are happy to put their know-how and notoriety at the service of this program to share and pass on to the younger generations, and particularly those who have not necessarily had the same opportunities or facilities to access the practice as they have.
This program can count on the support of Eiffage Construction which actively participates in the promotion of French sportsmen and women, in particular as part of the performance pact. A signatory to the performance pact since December 2014, Eiffage Construction has committed with the State Ministry of Sport to the professional support of high-level athletes by ensuring the continuation of training, vocational integration and retraining.
Eiffage Construction’s commitment to the program is twofold, says Bruno Chellaoua, Director of Eiffage Construction Habitat, “By choosing to sponsor “swimmer and citizen”., we have a dual goal of supporting ambitious swimmers in their Olympic preparation while supporting a project that promotes integration through sport and social diversity in priority neighbourhoods.”
On April 23, the first operation of the program was launched at the swimming pool in Vanves. The 4 ambassadors of the program offered 200 children aged 6 to 12 their first swimming equipment (bag, jersey, cap, glasses) and introduced them to the aquatic world. At their side, educators dedicated to the program, including Jordan Coehlo, European finalist on 200m butterfly in 2012, and the city’s lifeguards accompanied them. They will then take over the rest of the learning cycle. The children involved in the programme were chosen by the municipality, targeting the most priority audiences.
The French Swimming Federation also supports the initiative. It will offer all children participating in this device who wish to practice in a federal club their licence.
This programme is expected to develop as new champions will join the programme each year to give it more scope: it is intended to be implemented in an increasing number of cities, depending on the means available.