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LONDON, England, July 30. FRANCE's Yannick Agnel has had quite the meet thus far. After overhauling Team USA in the men's 400-meter freestyle relay with a stunning anchor leg, Agnel returned tonight to earn his second gold medal of the meet with a win in the men's 200-meter free at the 2012 London Olympics.
Agnel raced to a winning time of 1:43.14, posting a textile best in the process. The swim smashed the Olympic textile best of 1:45.35 clocked by Pieter van den Hoogenband at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and also managed to best Michael Phelps' overall textile best of 1:43.86 from the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne. With the swim, Agnel jumped to third overall in the all time rankings behind Paul Biedermann (1:42.00) and Phelps (1:42.96) with their top swims coming from the techsuit era.
The win is France's first in the event's history, and only its third individual gold medal for a man in Olympic swimming history. Alain Bernard topped the 100 free in 2008, while Jean Boiteux clinched the 1952 gold medal in the 400 free.
South Korea's Tae Hwan Park, the defending silver medalist, won his second silver medal in the event by tying China's Sun Yang with matching 1:44.93s. The medal is Park's second of the meet, taking second in the 400 free behind Sun. He has now managed to put together a career tally of four Olympic medals.
“They are so fast,” Park said. “I didn't have enough confidence before the race but my Korean teammates encouraged me by saying good things. They were saying your training has been good so do your best. I didn't get gold, but because the competitors were such high-ranking athletes, it was an honor to be in the same race. I knew my condition wasn't so good once I turned at the 50m point.”
Sun, meanwhile, is the first man from China to ever win multiple medals. He became the first gold medalist with his victory in the 400 free.
“I think the result is very dramatic I didn't expect we could be equal second but I think it is good because I let Park see my improvement and for both of us we have a chance to get the gold in the future,” Sun said.
USA's Ryan Lochte missed the podium with a fourth-place 1:45.04, off his time (1:44.44) from 2011 in Shanghai that won him one of five world titles that meet.
“I guess I took it out a little too fast,” Lochte said. “I knew if I wanted to be in the race I had to go out a little. Next time I won't make that same mistake. This is one of the deepest fields I've ever seen. First to eighth is like a second difference.”
Germany's Paul Biedermann, the world-record holder, faded to fifth in 1:45.53. Great Britain's Robbie Renwick (1:46.53), Australia's Thomas Fraser-Holmes (1:46.93) and Russia's Danila Izotov (1:47.75) also vied for Olympic hardware in the championship heat.
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