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.