Laure Manaudou was born on 9 October 1986 in Villeurbanne in a sporting family: her parents made Laure take swimming lessons when she was four years old because their daughter to know how to swim. This was her first contact with water and little by little she took to the game and from the age of six to fourteen, she trained at the club of Ambérieu-en-Bugey in the Ain, where she lived. It was there that Philippe Lucas noticed Laure in whom he detected some big potential and convinced the parents to let her go to Melun, the club of which he was the coach. From the first year of their collaboration, in 2001, she won two silver medals (50m and 100m backstroke) at the European Junior Swimming Championships in Malta and one year later, in Linz, Austria, she became the European junior champion in the 100m backstroke and double European runner up in the 50m backstroke and 200m medley.
Quickly the training became harder and in 2003 she won five gold medals (400, 800, 1500 metres freestyle; 50 and 100 metres backstroke), beat four French records and qualified for the World Championships in Barcelona… where her results were mediocre. In any case, 2003 was concluded with a bronze medal in the 100 metres backstroke at the European Championships in Dublin. In 2004, she won four national titles (400 and 800 metres freestyle; 50 and 100 metres backstroke) and three gold medals (400 metres freestyle, 100 metres backstroke and the 4×100 metres medley) at the European Championships in Madrid. A few weeks later she won the 400m freestyle at the Athens Olympic Games, on August 15, 2004 and she became the second French Olympic swimming medallist after Jean Boiteux in Helsinki in 1952. She won two other medals in these Olympics: the silver medal in the 800m freestyle and the bronze medal in the 100m backstroke, a totally unprecedented feat for a French swimmer at the Olympics, and immediately became a national star. She turned this greatly to her advantage.
Laure Manaudou also won two world titles on the same distance (2005 and 2007) and another one on 200m (2007), amassing six medals in total. In Almeria in 2005 she won two gold medals at the Mediterranean Games (400m freestyle, 50m backstroke), staying way behind in her last two Olympic outings (2008 and 2012), but with incredible statistics: 13 medals at the European Championships in long-course swimming, including 9 titles, 15 medals including nine titles in short-course swimming, but most importantly 86 medals at the French Championships including 62 titles and an astounding amount of world, European and French records, which makes her one of the most prolific swimmers in the history of French swimming.
During her career she often changed clubs: USC Ambérieu (1992-2001); CN Melun-Dammarie (2001-2006); Canet 66 natation (2006-2007); LaPresse Nuoto de Turin (2007-2008): Mulhouse ON (2008) and CN Marseille (since 2008). She “worn out” many coaches like Philippe Lucas, Paolo Penso, Nicolas Manaudou, Lionel Horter, Romain Barnier and even Brett Hawke. The Manaudou family can boast the rare feat of having two Olympic champions since Florent won the title on 50-metre freestyle at the London Games in 2012.