Yannick Agnel Says Danas Rapšys Is the Only Man Swimming the 200 Free Right

On September 23, former French swimmer Yannick Agnel was a guest on Inside with Brett Hawke, a podcast hosted by the former Auburn University swimmer and head coach.

Hawke swam for Auburn University for three years, in that time earning 17 All-American honors and was a nine-time NCAA individual champion. He also represented Australia in the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics, following his time at Auburn. He returned to the U.S. in 2006, and began coaching at Auburn until 2018. 

In his most recent podcast episode, Hawke hosted 28-year-old Yannick Agnel, a three-time Olympic medalist. 

In the episode, Hawke and Agnel discuss the 200 freestyle event, saying Danas Rapšys, a 25-year-old from Lithuania, is the only swimmer today swimming it “right.” 

Rapšys is a one-time Olympian and a multiple-time Lithuanian record holder in the men’s backstroke, freestyle and butterfly events. At the 2019 FINA World Championship, Rapšys was disqualified after initially touching first in the men’s 200 freestyle (1:44.69), due to a false start.

“There is only one way to dominate and win a 200 freestyle,” Agnel said on the podcast, after emphasizing the need to “attack” the race. “When I’m watching swimming now, the only guy that knows how to swim a 200 freestyle is Danas Rapšys. And you know what, if it wasn’t for him to have shaken the blocks in Gwangju, he would have won.”

Agnel, who retired after the Rio Olympic Games, has the 3rd-fastest time in history in the 200 free, having swum 1:43.14 to win gold at the 2012 Olympic Games. That is also the fastest time in history outside of the 2008-2009 polyurethane ‘supersuit’ era.

In that race, he won over Sun Yang and Park Tae-Hwan, who tied for silver with matching 1:44.93s. His opening 100 meter split of 50.64 was the best in the field, but only by .14 seconds ahead of Park.

Rather, it was Agnel’s closing 50 meter split of 25.98, which was more than a second better than even the distance specialist Sun, that made up most of his gap in that event.

Brett Hawke’s podcast can be listened to with a subscription to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Youtube.


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Lil kidda
1 year ago

Why do they gotta do Danas like that with the video of the dive with game over and the voice over 😂😂😂

So to race a 200 free it is to attack the first part of the race. Does anybody remember Clyde Lewis in the semi at worlds 2019 with his 1:44 and his 50.5 split at the 100? That seems exactly the way they’re saying a 200 should be done

Reply to  Lil kidda
1 year ago

Bah gawd that’s Le Clos’ music!

1 year ago

Phelps said a few years ago that the one man who could go 1’42” or even 1’41” in the 200 LCM was Agnel. Agnel was the same type of swimmer as Thorpe (400/200/100) but with more raw speed.

Watching the way Rapsys won the 400 SCM at the European Championships last year was as jaw-dropping as Agnel’s 2012 200 win. Hopefully, Rapsys can win gold next year.

Reply to  Crawler
1 year ago

Is there a video of this infamous statement? I’ve never heard of it until this thread

1 year ago

Angel’s 2012 is one of the most mind-blowing swims I’ve ever seen. In an era where everyone was struggling to catch-up with the world records, ESPECIALLY in freestyle, he came out of nowhere and put up one of the most incredible performances in history. I’ve watched that race dozens of times, and it’s still mind-boggling how easy it looks for him to go out in 50.6. It’s now 8 years later, and no one else has been close.

In my opinion, it’s the current trends in training that are holding back further improvement in the 200 free, especially in the US. More and more teams are moving toward that sort of “smash-and-dash” approach to training, where high intensity is favorable… Read more »

1 year ago

Look at this dude…

1 year ago

Imagine being able to say truly “I knew I was faster than [Phelps and Lochte]” over the water…

Reply to  M L
1 year ago

maybe only a handful of people that swam the same events as them that could say that and that’s being generous to everyone else.

Reply to  M L
1 year ago

Angel and Thorpe are the only people who can say it really.

Reply to  IM FAN
1 year ago

That 2007 200 free WR was the first time I think I really appreciated how devastating underwaters could be.

PVDH got smoked on the walls. The madlad still managed to keep it close for 150 though, but then Phelps did his thing on the last length, and PVDH ended up going 1:46.

All speculative of course, but I think PVDH 1:44.89 and Phelps’ 1:43.86 are probably equivalent in terms of surface speed, maybe PVDH is faster.

1 year ago

Thorpe and Agnel throwing shade at everyone lmao. Though they’ve probably earnt their right seeing that no-one is even close to their times right now.

Funny though that Thorpe speaks about the error of going easy the first 150 then turning it up on the last length, when his PB of 1:44.06 from 2001 was basically swum that way. I mean, Thorpe could’ve done the tombstone kick down that last length and still pulled away from Pieter van den Hoogenband.

Irish Ringer
1 year ago

Still only 28…plenty of time for a comeback.

1 year ago

Bob Bowman is a great coach but Yannick Agnel killed is career by going to USA to train with him and Phelps. Even tough he was still able to win in Barcelona with Bowman by his side, he was already a second slower (1.44.20) in the 200 and 8 tenths in the 100 (48.63 opening the relay). And from there the downfall was steep. Can’t help but think that he was going to be able he guy (talent and work wise) to swim under Biedermann WR. Kind of feels that his career was cut short because of a bad move. He should have stayed in France. He would have dominated Rio and maybe was still swimming. Can’t help but think… Read more »

Reply to  GrameziPT
1 year ago

He left France because he was close to a full out burnout, Muffat also needed a break and went to a 1 session a day training post London. In the US Agnel stated he ended up overtraining trying to achieve his expected potential.
I remember Phelps in one of his FB lives before Rio said that Agnel was the most talented freestyler he’d seen and he was the only one with a shot of lowering the WR.

Corn Pop
Reply to  GrameziPT
1 year ago

Post Gold medal psychological & physical plummet is real .The Danish distance swimm e r training with them i n France relayed his constant whinings .on her social media. He was done . She went on to a 15.38 1500 at 26. So the training was the real thing .