Several French-language newspapers are reporting that young French superstar Yannick Agnel has been struck by a lung infection that has left him bedridden,out of training, and has completely altered his World Championship schedule.
Agnel was expected to be one of France’s leading stars at the Shanghai World Championships in July, but this illness has caused him to severely limit his schedule of events. He is now planning to drop the 400 free, where he is the defending European champ and sits 2nd in the world behind Sun Yang, as a result of the lost conditioning. This is a rough blow, but fortunately at only 18, he will have many more chances to win this event at large-scale meets.
He’s expected to keep the individual 200, and the 800 free relay, on his schedule, though speculation is that he might drop off of the French 400 free relay as well. This would be a small, but by no means crippling, blow for France’s cause to upend the Americans. The French free relay is the deepest in the world, and either Jeremy Stravius or Fred Bousquet, both of whom have 48-low potential at least, will be promoted from a prelims-only swim to a finals spot. Stravius is the best bet, given Bousquet’s struggles in the 100 the past few years (though his 50 has remained among the best on the planet).