Izotov and Agnel, Perhaps Reigniting a Dormant Rivalry

Flashback to the 2009 Eur0pean Junior Swimming Championships. Danila Izotov, 100 free champion, and Yannick Agnel, 200 and 400 free champion, were the two big stars of the meet, overlapping in just one race, the 200, where Agnel won 1:47.02 to 1:47.77.

The two young men are both huge, with Izotov standing 6’4 and Angel standing a towering 6’8″.

This was supposed to be the next great European rivalry in swimming. At the 2010 World Short Course Championships in Dubai, the two swimmers hit the water in a dead-heat, but Agnel made up a slight deficit over Izotov to give the French the gold and leave the Russians with silver.

In 2011, the two participated in a camp in Nice under Fabrice Pellerin, where the Russian “artistic” vision of swimming was combined with Pellerin’s own hugely-technical visions in one of the most analytical swim camps we’ve ever heard of.

Heavy data analysis at the time showed that Izotov was much stronger than Agnel, but superior coordination and stroke balance would give Agnel the brighter future, even though at the time Izotov’s bests were better (his swim from 2009 still ranks him 4th on the all-time list, just one spot behind Agnel).

As it turns out, that was true for the next two years. As Agnel’s stock soared to a pair of Olympic golds, including in the 200 free, and a silver, while Izotov slipped from the conversation with an 8th place finish at last year’s Olympic in that same 200 free.

See the time progressions from swimrankings.net:

Yannick Agnel
Danila Izotov

Danila Izotov Time Progression Yannick Agnel Time Progression

That was, until 2013. Agnel, though with a bright future training under Bob Bowman, has said that he’s dropping the 200 free from the World Championships altogether (though local media has rumored he might be back in).

Meanwhile, Izotov on Friday at the World University Games in his home country looked like Izotov c. 2009 with a 1:44.87 relay leadoff that is the fastest in the world in 2013.

Perhaps, with 2016 in both men’s sights, we’ve seen a bit of a rekindling of this rivalry that once had the potential

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7 years ago

In my opinion there’s no rivalry between the two guys, Yannick is much more stronger than Danila, and I think even Sun Yang can go faster than the Russian if he focuses much on the 200m free. There are other youngsters such as Mc Evoy, Fraser Holmes and Hagino that can set a very fast line up in this event.

jean Michel
7 years ago

Grevers 6’8″ and Agnel 6’8″ are probably the tallest swimmers in activity right now .

Reply to  jean Michel
7 years ago

who’s the tallest top female swimmers?

Reply to  aswimfan
7 years ago

I think is Vreeland with 1,88.. but I do not doubt Missy already passed her and is the tallest by now..

Franklin and Schmmit were 1,85 last year.. but Missy is still growing.

But Yvetta Hlaváčová, Open Water swimmer from the 90, was 1,94

Reply to  jean Michel
7 years ago

For the superstar, yes the tallest is Adrian and Agnel.
But for the elite swimmer, it should be:
– Ari Pekka Liukkonen (Finland) – 2.08m (6′ 10”)
– Sergey Fesikov (Russia) – 2.04m (6′ 8.5”)

Reply to  Wirotomo
7 years ago

Liukkonen is tall and thin with his 91kg. As he concentrates on same events as Adrian, who is over 100kg and shorter, a bit more muscle might be beneficial.

Agnel is super slim though. He is only 80kg according to wikipedia. Some tall and athletic female sprinters, who have no fat, weigh almost the same as he does.

Super Man
7 years ago

“Heavy data analysis at the time showed that Izotov was much stronger than Izotov”

What does that mean?

Reply to  Super Man
7 years ago

They obviously had no idea how strong Izotov was, so they concluded with that he was stronger than himself 😉

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. 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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