Men’s 200m Freestyle World Championship Preview: Will Olympic and World Champion Yannick Agnel Defend His Title?

MEN’S 200M FREESTYLE: 2015 FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS PREVIEW

  • Day 3, Tuesday, August 4th
  • 2013 World Champion: Yannick Agnel, FRA – 1:44.20 (SEE RACE VIDEO ABOVE)
  • 2013 Silver Medalist: Conor Dwyer, USA – 1:45.32
  • 2013 Bronze Medalist: Danila Izotov, RUS – 1:45.59

The 200 freestyle saw incredible drops in time during the suit era, perhaps even more drastically than most events. However, since 2009 the event has reverted back to 1:44 and 1:45 performances being good enough for winning gold and winning a medal. After Michael Phelps’ breakthrough 1:43.86 in 2007, and then Paul Biedermann’s earth shattering 1:42.00 in 2009, the event has not come close to those standards the last two championship meets. Yannick Agnel broke through at the 2012 Olympics with a 1:43.14, but has failed to show that type of form since.

James Sutherland - 2015 200m free world championship preview

It is time for this event to move forward, and continue to get faster rather than stagnate. The silver and bronze medal performances actually got significantly slower from 2011 to 2013. I expect the event to be quicker than it has been in the past, by not by much. The times just don’t indicate we should expect it.

Take a look at the top times from around the world this season:

2014-2015 LCM Men 200 Free

JamesGBR
GUY
08/04
1.45.14
2Sun
YANG
CHN1.45.2008/04
3Ryan
LOCHTE
USA1.45.3608/03
4Paul
BIEDERMANN
GER1.45.3808/04
5Kousuke
HAGINO
JPN1.45.8204/09
6Sebastiaan
VERSCHUREN
NED1.45.9108/04
7Cameron
McEVOY
AUS1.45.9404/05
8Yannick
AGNEL
FRA1.45.9704/01
9Chad
LE CLOS
RSA1.46.1008/03
10Danila
IZOTOV
RUS1.46.25*relay08/07
View Top 26»

I feel that Yannick Agnel is too talented in this event to relinquish the title he earned in 2013. After moving back to France for training, I think we will see him back under the 1:44 mark this summer. Paul Biedermann has the top time in the world this year, and with this event being his primary focus, unlike a lot of the competition who have multiple events to swim, I think he will be right there in the medal race.

The 2011 champion Ryan Lochte has a much lighter schedule than he usually would, and has been doing a lot more freestyle work this year in Charlotte so I think he will put together a great race. The 200 freestyle may not be Kosuke Hagino or Sun Yang’s best event, but both are incredibly talented and probably are the two fastest swimmers come the last 50 meters, so they will be in the hunt.

Conor Dwyer proved he can have a big international swim after netting silver in this event in 2013, however he had a setback last summer and wasn’t happy with his results. I believe he will be back on his game in Kazan.

Cameron McEvoy and Sebastiaan Verschuren are primarily 100m swimmers but have shown their versatility in moving up to the 200 and have both been fast this season.

In terms of a dark horse selection, Chad Le Clos is someone to consider. He has never really swum the event at a major international long course meet, but he has shown his versatility and ability in the freestyle events on the world cup circuit over the last few years, and then won gold against a loaded field in the event at the 2014 Short Course Worlds. Le Clos is slated to swim five individual events at the championships, which is a much heavier load than he had two years ago in Barcelona. Despite his reputation, he would still be considered a dark horse in the event simply because he has never proved himself over a long course 200 freestyle, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was in the fight of things coming down the last 50m in the final.

Others to watch for in this event include David McKeon of Australia, James Guy and Robbie Renwick of Great Britain, and Joao De Lucca of Brazil.

Predictions

1. Yannick Agnel,FRA                             1:43.79
2. Paul Biedermann,GER                       1:44.38
3. Ryan Lochte,USA                                 1:44.57
4. Kosuke Hagino,JPN                            1:44.92
5. Sun Yang,CHN                                      1:44.96
6. Conor Dwyer,USA                                1:45.25
7. Sebastiaan Verschuren, NED             1:45.28
8. Cameron McEvoy, AUS                      1:45.39

Darkhorse: Chad Le Clos,RSA            1:45.62


SCHEDULE (POOL SWIMMING STARTS ON DAY 9)
SWIMMING FINALS SCHEDULE:

Day 1, Sun August 2nd (Day 9)

  • M 400 Free
  • M 400 Free
  • W 4×100 Free Relay
  • M 4×100 Free Relay

Day 2, Mon August 3rd (Day 10)

  • M 100 Breast
  • W 100 Fly
  • M 50 Fly
  • W 200 IM

Day 3, Tue August 4th (Day 11)

  • M 200 Free
  • W 100 Back
  • W 1500 Free
  • M 100 Back
  • W 100 Breast

Day 4, Wed August 5th (Day 12)

Day 5, Thur August 6th (Day 13)

  • M 200 IM
  • M 100 Free
  • W 200 Fly
  • W 50 Back
  • W 4×200 Free Relay

Day 6, Fri August 7th (Day 14)

Day 7, Sat August 8th (Day 15)

  • W 50 Fly
  • M 50 Free
  • W 200 Back
  • M 100 Fly
  • W 800 Free
  • MIXED 4×100 Free Relay

Day 8, Sun August 9th (Day 16)

  • M 50 Back
  • W 50 Breast
  • M 400 IM
  • W 50 Free
  • M 1500 Free
  • W 400 IM
  • M 4×100 Medley Relay
  • W 4×100 Medley Relay

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Icy Hot

Don’t forget about Christian Quintero..we will get a teaser of what he can do during the pan am games.

crawler

I agree that Agnel is by far the most talented on 200 m LCM, but I am at a loss as to why he has struggled so much since 2012. Is it mental? He has a great coach though and is back in France where he must feel more at ease. ‘hope he has a great meet.

samuel huntington

Yannick won the gold at 2013 worlds in the 200 so I am not sure why you think he has struggled..

crawler

if you remember, he struggled in the heats and semis, and by his own admission in the post race interview, he went for broke in the final with some expectation to get on the podium, but he was surprised he won. He also did ok but not great (for him) in the 4×100 free relay.

ozsu

Post Olympic depression? Or even if it wasn’t as severe to call it depression, I’m sure he needed time to find motivation after his Olympic gold medal.

lane 0

I’d call Lochte a long shot to medal here. You made no mention of double European champion velimir stjepanovic. I hope Conor Dwyer Can get in for a medal.

Justin Thompson

I agree it’s very optimistic. Has Lochte been a 1:44 since 2011? From what I can tell his best time since 2011 was a 1:45.04 in the 2012 games.

I would put money on him over Le Clos though. He’s a dark horse to even final in this event.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James is currently a university swimmer for the Laurentian Voyageurs in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. He is studying economics. Along with swimming, he also loves hockey. He's in his 14th season as a competitive swimmer. Best Times - SCM (LCM) 50 FR - 24.56 (25.12) 100 FR - 53.58 (56.70) 200 FR - 1:56.07 (2:04.29) 1500 …

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