Yannick Agnel Leaving North Baltimore to Return to France For Training

French star and Olympic gold medalist Yannick Agnel has taken another change of course, moving on to his third coach in two years and leaving Bob Bowman and the North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

According to several French media outlets, the 22-year old will return to train at the club Mulhouse under newly-resigned National Team director Lionel Horter. This comes after roughly a year-and-a-half training with Bowman and his impressive group that includes Conor Dwyer, Michael Phelps, Allison Schmitt, and sometimes Chase Kalisz, among others.

Agnel is the second big-name swimmer to leave that group: Tunisian Ous Mellouli returned to Southern California earlier this year, citing “the Southern California lifestyle” as the primary reason for his move.

Agnel had a high-profile time at NBAC. He got significantly more exposure to racing Americans during his time stateside, but the ultimate result wasn’t his best at the European Championships. He recovered by meet’s end to win individual bronze in the 200 free, but he was overall disappointing, including being left off of France’s gold medal winning 400 free relay.

More was expected of the defending World Champion and Olympic Champion in the 200 free.

Bowman’s public comments were supportive of the move.

“I support him 100% in his approach. Lionel (Horter) is a world-class coach, and Yannick will grow under his control,” the American coach said. “MY goal is to help Yannick succeed, no matter where it leads.”


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If things don’t work out for Agnel, the 200-400-1500 campaign becomes a very realistic one for Sun Yang.


2 years is a long time.
In 2007 Laure Manadou swept everything and no one in their right mind would have bet against Manadou winning 200-400 in 2008 Beijing, and only the craziest people would have bet against her winning any medal in Beijing.

And what happened in Beijing……….?


He is a huge talent, who is still young. I expect him to be right up there in Rio in the 200 free. Unfortunately it is the most competitive event going, so that means the colour of his medal is uncertain.


Not saying one way or another that NBAC was the right program. What I find intriguing is that it usually takes a year or so to get acclimated to a training program before you start to see the drops you are looking for and would expect. I know time is getting tighter on 2016, but I would think 2 years for a program would do a much better job of seeing if it is a fit than 1 and I would have hoped he would have given himself that much time.


Maybe it became clearer and clearer to everyone in NBAC team that once Phelps was officially back, Bowman’s 99% focus is on Phelps.
That’s not gonna work for swimmer as high calibre and so talented as Agnel.

I’m glad that he left now and not after Kazan. This is good for everyone. Good for Agnel, good for Phelps and good for Bowman who doesnt have to pretend anymore that he cares about the progress of Agnel and the others.


That is quite the assumption or you happen to be training in the elite group at NBAC, which one is it? You start out with a maybe and turn it into cold hard fact..


It was merely my speculation, but logically stems from many previous examples (not necessarily Bowman-Phelps)


I should stress and clarify that I have nothing against Bowman who I think is a super coach, I am just stating my speculation what I think happened.


From documented articles etc., we know that the crucial key to Phelps success is the amazing partnership he has with Bowman and the super-detailed and laser-focused plan and the followed consistent work that they had for his olympics preparation.
I just wonder if one coach can do the same amount of quality training and preparation equally for multiple super swimmers who each demand full attention.


From the down votes that I received, I may be wrong and Bowman actually can actually devote 100% of his time and energy to every single one of the swimmers in his squad.

Wasn’t Bowman also appointed national swimming coach of Turkey? Is he still doing that also?


Considering CoachErik likely has ties to NBAC, I would suspect that his opinion on what happened carries significantly more weight that your speculation


I find it hard to believe that mr Bowman would neglect a swimmer of the caliber of Agnel, being the professional he is, to focus on Phelps “99%”. If I wanted to speculate, I would say the opposite. Agnel was an entirely new challenge. Possibly, the first man to win 200 free Olympic gold twice. Imagine!


well, obviously 99% was my usual way of exaggeration.

Let’s assume that you are right and Bowman puts 99% focus on Agnel. But this produces much bigger question as to why Agnel left if he had the 99% attention and enthusiasm from Bowman. And I really don’t think the weather is the reason.


I’d love to see him win the 200 free 3 times! 😉



There is a flaw in your assumption, sure, coaching a swimmer to be the first to win olympics 200 free twice is great, but that is NOTHING compared to coaching a swimmer to be the first, the only (and most likely in all of history past and future) to win an individual event in FOUR successive olympics.


Dear Aswimfan,
first of all, I was just speculating for the fun of it. Just to show how it is easy to turn assumptions on their head. I do not believe mr Bowman gives 99% to either one.
Second … speculating in itself is flawed! 😀
However, I still maintain that for any coach in the world, including mr Bowman, training Agnel would be a very stimulating challenge and one he/she would never take lightly, not even for MP.

Caitlin Garrison

Ouch! A bit snippy eh?

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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