What I enjoy about the quadrennial spectacle most is discovering wonderful swimmers I'd not been aware of previously. And sometimes finding they come from unexpected places. Like France. Or Nice.
Yannick Agnel, who thoroughly dominated the powerful group of Park, Sun and Lochte in wining the 200 Free -- and is only 20 years old -- comes from the club Olympic Nice Natation, coached by Fabrice Pellerin, called an iconoclast in this revealing NY Times article "French Savor Swimming Success."
The article didn't make clear why he's considered iconoclastic in France. Pecause he's a high-volume oriented coach? I don't know if that goes against the grain in French swimming. One thing is certain, something's working for the Nice club, because Agnel also had that stunning anchor leg on the 4 x 100 relay and another club member, Clement Lefert, was also on that relay.
And finally Camille Muffat, who already won the 400 free and looks like a strong bet to win the 200 Free, swims there as well. Watching those races I thought Camille looked as much like a TI Swimmer as any of the top women in freestyle. Her Ear Hop recovery and Mail Slot entry -- impressively maintained at high rate and full power -- stand out for their elegance in any heat she swims in. While watching the 400 Free final, when Allison Schmitt of the US challenged her at 300m, I felt fairly sure that Muffat would hold her off, because her steeper entry better converts 'inherent' power to applied
power than the flatter entry of Schmitt.
As for Agnel, he's tall - 6'8" - and rangy, not powerful. So he must rely on being able to move his long limbs and body at fairly high rate, and get his forearms in a high-traction (EVF) position immediately upon entry. It's a body and stroke type even better adapted to 200m than 100m.