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.


In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Woke Stasi
10 months ago

You gotta love it: YANNICK AGNEL adding his two cents to Critical Race Theory!

10 months ago

Didn’t Rapšys touch in 1:44.69 before the DQ, not 1:45.07?

10 months ago

I know Townley doesn’t do it long course as much but when he was a freshman at Texas and first broke the NCAA record in the 2free at NCAA’s he went out faster than anyone expected and just held on. Short course it’s much less intimidating to go out fast because of all the walls and the yards pool. Everyone saw that barrier of 1:31 and an “untouchable” 10 year old record get broken and thought he’s insane but it worked. Then later Pieroni went out after Townley and ended up as the first to go 1:29. Then Dean came along and just went crazy the first 100 too and almost broke 1:29 all in a span of a few… Read more »

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Poolboy
10 months ago

Then Townley went out like crazy for 250 yards of the 500 free at NCAAs, and he’s never been the same.

Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
10 months ago

To be fair, Townley did drop a pretty good sub 1:46 untapered (not 100% sure) 2 free before quarantine.

10 months ago

All the languages he studies! The guy’s a Renaissance man.

10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months 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 .

Irish Ringer
10 months ago

Still only 28…plenty of time for a comeback.

10 months 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.

10 months ago

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

Reply to  M L
10 months 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
10 months ago

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

Reply to  IM FAN
10 months 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.