It’s Official: Agnel Explains Decision to Swim with Bob Bowman in Press Conference

The French news site L’equipe, which has been on the front edge of the developing Yannick-Agnel-to-United-States story, has posted some quotes from his press conference on Tuesday. There, he made the news official that he would begin training with Bob Bowman, the head coach of the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, the head coach to the World Championship squad, and the man who coached Michael Phelps to 8 golds at the Beijing Olympics and 18 total gold medals.

Read the full comments here, in French.

Bowman now has on his resume the names of the last two Olympic champions in the men’s 200 free, Phelps from 2008, and Agnel from 2012, plus the 2012 women’s champion, Allison Schmitt.

Among the more interesting quotes was Agnel’s discussion of why he’d left Fabrice Pellerin: one of the hottest coaches in the world right now.

“I want to find with Bob Bowman what was lacking in Nice: warmth, sharing, sincerity,” Agnel said, roughly, in French. “That Fabrice has always wanted to avoid. He always wanted to put distance between himself and his swimmers. It is a choice that I respect and that works, I’m a double Olympic champion and I owe him. Maybe one day we can discuss everything. At this point, it is not suitable for this discussion. But there are things that will stay personal between Fabrice and myself.”

Agnel also committed to swim with Bowman until the 2016 Olympics, and referenced the allure of swimming with the legend, or myth, that is the coach of the great Phelps.

As for when his training with Bowman would become full time, he said that those details are still being worked out: either he would head to work with Bowman now, or he would find a temporary location in France until the Championships and head stateside afteward.

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bobo gigi

Great translation. Congrats! I have nothing to do.


BOBO GIGI, you are not the only one who speaks “deux langues”
This is great for swimming!

bobo gigi

I know that thank you. But I also know French isn’t the first option for most of Americans as foreign language. I have learned in an interview of Missy Franklin she learned French online. Good luck to her! It’s not easy.

Unless you are a latin language leader.. french is not easy.. for me, spanish and italian and much easier than French itself.. but for a Brazilian to learn it is probably much easier than for someone whose mother tongue is English..

So unless missy knows some latin (Spanish probably) she would have a hard time learning French.. Online much more difficult

jean Michel

I felt intuitively that his decision was mainly done because of something lacking in their relationship . Anyway , to train with Bob Bowman gives results at the highest level and it’s great Agnel is offering himself a big change . It will be very nice to see him swim some Grand prix . His presence willl offer many challenges to other swimmers and inspiration . Bravo !!!


Fascinating. Some elite swimmers seem to intuitively know that they need a change despite their success, even if it means that taking a risk to be happier and more comfortable in training is more important than past success, even Olympic medals. I hope this is true for Agnel and I wish him well. Hopefully this will help lure Phelps back to the pool as well!! Or at least draw other swimmers needing a change to NBAC; it would be a shame if none of the US top swimmers got to compete against him in practice!


I believe most major athletes are in need of change at some point in their career. It isn’t what you’ve done before was wrong but one just needs a new kind of stimulus to develop. Actually, if there were three different sorts of training scheme in one´s career at top level, I believe it doesn’t even matter in which order they occur. It is like a changing the coach to wake players up. Of course changing the training doesn’t necessarily require the change of coach.

In my opinion many top athletes hesitate too long to change their training when first difficulties begin to show up. To be honest, Agnel seems to be quite forward-looking in that regard.

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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