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Bernard eyes record mark

OLYMPIC 100 meters freestyle champion Alain Bernard said he was targeting breaking the 47-second barrier at his favorite distance.

Frenchman Bernard holds the European record in 47.20 seconds, 0.15 shy of Australian Eamon Sullivan's world best mark.

"I have this (record) in the back of my head. And I like to think about it," Bernard said.

"47 seconds would be good. When? I don't know."

The 25-year-old Bernard will have his first opportunity to aim for the record at this week's French championships in Montpellier, where he will first try and secure his place for this summer's world championships in Rome. "That's the goal of my season," he said.

This year, Bernard's best time for the 100 meters was 48.52 last month, but he said that some punishing training sessions had prevented him from swimming faster.

"In January and February, I have worked a lot, much more than last season. Two or three times, I felt a pain in my arms I had never felt before," he said.

"I think I will very soon benefit from these sessions."

With so much time spent in the pool, Bernard said he needed to take short breaks from the sport with the help of his girlfriend Coralie Balmy, who was fourth in the 400 meters freestyle in Beijing.

"With Coralie, we talk a lot, we speak of our experiences although we do not work the same way," he said.

"She listens to me and it is very precious to me, especially since I won my Olympic title."

However, Bernard hopes his relationship with Balmy will be respected and not be dissected by the media in the same way as that of compatriot and triple world champion Laure Manaudou.

"I simply hate to be tracked, I hate these intrusions into my private life," he said.

"It has nothing to do with the way I was raised, nothing to do with the simple life I intend to live. I am feeling well in our relationship, I do not want it to be disturbed."


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