Leon Marchand is a World Record holder, World Champion, and NCAA Champion Swimmer who represents France internationally. He was the first man to go 1:36 in the 200 IM (SCY) and 3:28 in the 400 IM (SCY). He is also the #1 performer all-time in the 400 IM (LCM) at 4:02.50, eclipsing the iconic Michael Phelps 4:03.84.
College (Arizona State)
Coming in as a highly-touted recruit, Marchand delivered in his first season for Bob Bowman at ASU. At his first NCAA Championships, in his first individual event, he not only won his first NCAA title, but clocked the fastest 200 IM in history, touching at 1:37.69. This made him the first person ever to go under 1:38 in the event. He would go on to score silver in the 400 IM (3:34.08) and win his 2nd NCAA title in the 200 Breast, clocking 1:48.20.
Marchand picked up where he left off during his sophomore campaign and didn’t even wait until championship season to start making history. In Arizona State’s dual against Cal on January 21, in his 4th swim of the day, Marchand fired off a 3:31.84 400 IM, breaking the NCAA and US Open record set by Hugo Gonzalez the previous season at NCAAs.
Heading into the 2023 conference championship season, Marchand led the NCAA in 7 events across every stroke:
- 500 Free (4:07.81)
- 100 Back (44.77)
- 200 Fly (1:39.57)
- 100 Breast (51.01)
- 200 Breast (1:48.82)
- 200 IM (1:38.89)
- 400 IM (3:31.84)
At the Pac-12 Championships, Marchand his momentum rolling, breaking NCAA records in the 400 IM (3:31.57, 1st) and 200 breast (1:47.67, 1st) while winning the 200 IM (1:37.81) as well. He helped ASU relays to victories in the 200 medley, 400 medley and 800 free relays, as well as a 2nd place finish in the 400 free relay. His performances contributed to Arizona State’s first Pac-12 team title in history.
As he did the year prior, Marchand truly saved the best for last. At the 2023 NCAAs, the ASU sophomore dazzled on night 1, splitting 22.27 on breast (fastest split ever) to help ASU to a 2nd place finish. He backed that up with a 1:28.42 anchor (fastest split ever) on the 800 free relay to help ASU finish 2nd once again.
The next day, he became the first man under 1:37 in the 200 IM, clocking 1:36.34 to win his 2nd consecutive NCAA title in the event. The next night, he blew the field out of the water in the 400 IM, breaking his won NCAA record by nearly 3 seconds to finish in 3:28.82. He finished that night with a 49.23 100 breast split (fastest split ever) to help ASU’s 400 medley relay place 3rd. Marchand finished his individual sweep with a win in the 200 breast, breaking his 3rd NCAA record of the weekend in 1:46.91.
Marchand finished his meet on the 400 free relay, splitting 40.55 on the 2nd leg to help ASU place 3rd (his only finals swim of the entire meet that wasn’t the fastest time ever). Marchand helped Arizona State once again to a historic finish, as they placed 2nd behind Cal.
2020 Olympic Games
At his first Olympic Games, Marchand swam a full schedule, competing in the 400 IM (6th, 4:11.16), 200 Fly (14th, 1:55.68), and 200 IM (18th, 1:58.30).
2022 World Championships
Coming off of his Olympic experience as well as a sensational first NCAA championships, Marchand looked primed to break out in Budapest. On day 1 in the 400 IM final, Marchand was neck-and-neck with Carson Foster at the 200 when he made his move on the breaststroke. Marchand pulled away from the field and touched first in 4:04.28, the #2 swim all-time in the event, only trailing Michael Phelps’ world record of 4:03.86 from 2008.
Marchand was back in the pool on Day 3, moving through the prelims and semis of the 200 fly with ease. On day 4, Marchand had a tough double, swimming the final of the 200 fly just 43 minutes before the semi-final of the 200 IM. In the 200 fly final, Marchand clocked a 1:53.37, a french record that was good for silver behind Kristof Milak’s 1:50.34 world record. In the 200 IM semi less than an hour later, Marchand clocked another huge PB, 1:55.75, for another French record and the top seed heading into the final.
Marchand did it again on day 5, putting together a masterful 200 IM race to win gold in 1:55.22, nearly half a second ahead of 2nd place Carson Foster. This marked the 4th time in the past 20 years that a swimmer coached by Bob Bowman had swept the IM events at the world championships (Michael Phelps in 2003 & 2007, Chase Kalisz in 2017).
2023 World Aquatics Championships (Fukuoka, Japan)
Marchand cruised through the prelims with a relaxed back half to a 4:10.88 for lane 5. Marchand lived up to the hype in the final. He was in the lead at the 100 with a speedy 54.66 and just kept going from there. He dominated on breast particularly as he destroyed the oldest world record ever: Michael Phelps’ 4:03.84. In the end, Marchand went a stunning 4:02.50 to top Carson Foster by 4.06 seconds.
|Leon Marchand, 2023 World Championships||Michael Phelps, 2008 Summer Olympics||Leon Marchand, 2022 World Championships|
In the 200 fly, Marchand was controlled in prelims with a 1:55.46. For semis, he went out a little faster for the 2nd seed into the finals with a 1:54.21. In the final, Marchand eased to a 25.42 at the 50 then stormed past 4 guys to lead at the 100 in 53.59. He maintained his lead with a 58.84 back half to score Gold and become the #3 performer all-time in 1:52.43. Not too much later, Marchand had no trouble qualifying 2st in the 200 IM with a 1:56.34.
In the 200 IM final, Foster was out quickly in 53.27, under WR pace. Marchand was just behind in 53.60. He scorched a 32.94 breast split to take a dominant lead down the stretch. Without anyone breathing down his neck like Lochte had in 2011 courtesy of Michael Phelps, Marchand struggled a bit, coming home in 28.28. While his 1:54.82 was not a world record, it was a European record and make him the 3rd man ever under 1:55 in the 200 IM behind the aforementioned Lochte and Phelps. As expected, Marchand scratched the 200 breast.
Marchand wrapped his meet with some relays. In the 800 free relay final, Marchand had an excellent 1:44.89 anchor to move france from 6th to 4th. In the 400 medley, Marchand was 59.00 on breast and France had another 4th place finish.