After helping France win the men’s 4x100-metre freestyle relay team by blowing past American Ryan Lochte on Sunday, Agnel duplicated his brilliant performance in the 200m freestyle a day later.
Agnel used a powerful final 50 metres, winning Olympic gold in one minute 43.14 seconds on Monday in London.
South Korean’s Park Tae-hwan took his second medal of the Olympics as he tied for silver with Chinese star Sun Yang, who both clocked at 1:44.93.
The surprise of the event was Lochte, the defending world champion who badly faded to a fourth-place finish in 1:45.04.
Building off his terrific effort a day earlier, Agnel served notice from the start that this was his race. With Park and Lochte following close by, Agnel began separating himself in the last 100 metres.
Sensing the gold within his grasp, the Frenchmen pulled away from the rest of the field as he fired off the final wall to win his first individual Olympic title.
"I really didn't expect that time," Agnel said. "I had a race plan in my head, but this is above my expectations and hopes. I'm delighted. It's a childhood dream come true. I had to start quickly over the first 100 meters. I did that. Then I worked on keeping my speed and putting all my guts into the last 50. I don't know what to say. It worked."
Sun, the 400 freestyle gold medallist from Day 1 of the swimming competition, caught the struggling Lochte and eventually pulled even with Park at the wall.
The American will no doubt face heavy scrutiny for another disappointing effort. He was hailed as the new king of the pool after destroying the competition to win the men’s 400m individual medley, but has since been subpar in earning only one silver medal in his last two events.
"I did my best," Lochte said. "I guess sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I gave it 110 per cent. There's probably some things I messed up on, but you live and learn. [Agnel is] a great racer. There's no doubt about it. He's quick and he showed it last night and tonight. I'm happy for him. He did good."
This was a stacked field that also featured that world-record holder Paul Biedermann of Germany. Biedermann, who placed fifth, won the 2009 world title, but hasn’t been the same since swimming’s governing body FINA banned the controversial body suits.
Michael Phelps, the 2008 Olympic champion, would have been one of the favourites had he not drop this event at the U.S. trials, although it would be hard to imagine the American beating Agnel on this day.
Franklin captures 100m backstroke title
U.S. swimmer Missy Franklin kept her goal of seven medals intact as she won gold in the women’s 100m backstroke.
It was quite the performance from Franklin as she won the Olympic title less than 14 minutes after competing in the 200m freestyle semifinal.
"Indescribable," Franklin said. "I still can't believe that happened. I don't even know what to think. I saw my parents' reaction on the screen and I just started bawling. I can't even think right now."
Franklin, unnerved following the Aurora theatre shooting not far from her Colorado home less than two weeks ago, displayed marvelous resiliency with such a short break after the semis of the 200 free.
“Stunning swim," marveled CBC Sports analyst Bryon MacDonald. “She went out very slow and that was all part of the plan. I would’ve told her that as a coach: go out very easy and come back strong that way you’re not building up too much lactate [acid].
Franklin overcame Australia’s Emily Seebohm to win in 58.33. The Aussie (58.68) had to settle for silver, while Japanese swimmer Aya Terakawa earned the bronze medal in 58.83.
Not even a senior in high school, the 17-year-old Franklin is well on her way to becoming the queen of the pool. Already with two medals - she earned a bronze as part of the U.S.'s 4x100 freestyle — Franklin can earn as many as seven medals, which would surprass the U.S. female record of six won by Natalie Coughlin at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The budding teenage star still has the 200 backstroke, the 100 and 200 freestyle events, plus two more relay events remaining.
Franklin was born in Pasadena, Calif., but her parents, Dick and D.A., are Canadians. Dick Franklin played university football at St. Mary’s in Halifax, where his teammate was none other than CBC Sports broadcasting legend Steve Armitage, who played quarterback.
Lithuanian earns women's breaststroke gold
Fifteen-year-old Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte upended American Rebecca Soni to win the women's 100m breaststroke title.
Meilutyte kept a steady pace and held off Soni at the end, touching the wall at 1:05.47. Soni, the two-time world champion and silver medallist in Beijing four years ago, finished just 0.08th of a second behind her Lithuanian opponent.
Japan's Satomi Suzuki was a distant third in 1:06.46. Jamaica's Alia Atkinson (1:06.93), who defeated Canada's Tera Van Beilen in a swimoff on Sunday to make it to the final, finished a respectable fourth.
Defending champion Leisel Jones of Australia was fifth.
American Grevers sets Olympic record in backstroke victory
Matt Grevers kept the gold medals coming for the U.S., adding another American win in the pool in rat-a-tat fashion.
He rallied on the return lap to win the men's 100m backstroke in an Olympic-record time of 52.16.
For good measure, Nick Thomas made it a 1-2 finish for the Americans, touching for silver in 52.92. The bronze went to Japan's Ryosuke Irie in 52.97, while France's Camille Lacourt, who led at the turn under world-record pace, faded to fourth.
Phelps ready for 1st gold
Michael Phelps will be gunning for his 15th career gold medal when he competes in the final of the men's 200m butterfly on Tuesday. Phelps qualified with the fourth fastest time Monday, setting the stage for what could be two Olympics records.
A podium finish would tie him with Russian gymnastics legend Larisa Latynina at 18 career medals.
Phelps would also become the first male swimmer to win the same event three times at three consecutive Olympics should he capture gold.
- Barbara Jardin, of Notre-Dame-de-Grace, Que., finished fifth in her semifinal heat in the women’s 200m freestyle and failed to qualify for the final.
- In the second heat of the women’s 200m freestyle, Samantha Cheverton, of Lachine, Que., didn’t advance to the final after placing sixth.
- Erica Morningstar, from, Regina just missed making it to the semifinals of the women’s 200m individual medley after an eight-place finish in her heat.
- David Sharpe, of Halifax was a non factor in the men’s 200m butterfly after finishing 31st overall in the preliminaries.