Leon Marchand

View Current photo via Courtesy of Jack Spitser

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.


Marchand returned to ASU for a 3rd year with his sights on powering ASU to an NCAA team title. 

He opened things up with an LCM dual meet against UGA. He split a 59.90 on the breast leg of ASU’s sizzling 3:34.37 400 medley relay. He later won the 200 IM in 1:57.76 and followed that up with a 1:36.12 150 breast. The next day, the teams met again in the SCY pool and Marchand produced more speedy times, clocking a 53.29 100 breast, 1:54.39 200 breast, and 1:42.35 200 IM, all best times. 

Against UNLV, Marchand continued to post mind-boggling times. He clocked a personal-best 1:39.64 in the 200 backstroke — a three-second drop — just about 20 minutes after posting a 1:39.65 in the 200 butterfly. Only one other swimmer had ever broken 1:40 in both 200s before marchand. He capped things off with a 3:37.96 400 IM. 

Marchand kept rolling against NC State. He touched first in the 100 breast (52.14) with the second-fastest time in the NCAA before clocking a nation-leading 4:14.34 in the 500 free. Marchand added a 41.48 anchor on ASU’s 400 free relay and a 23.29 50 breast split. The two teams met again the following day for an LCM exhibition. Marchand led the 100 butterfly with a personal-best 52.42, shaving 0.02 seconds off of his previous-best 52.44. Marchand also won the 200 free (1:49.16) and placed 3rd in the 100 back (55.32). The 100 back marked his first loss in a race since his runner-up finish to Milak in the 200 fly at the 2022 World Championships.

Against USC, Marchand claimed the 100 fly crown in 44.66, taking down Kharun’s program record of 44.88 just weeks prior.  Marchand also added victories in the 100 breast (51.96) and 200 breast (1:52.70), both ranking 2nd in the NCAA this season.

On day 1, of the NC State Invite, Marchand scratched the 500 free with an unknown illness. He ended up just swimming the 400 IM individually, placing 3rd with a 3:38.61. He also pulled out of the U.S. Open. 

Emerging from winter training against Grand Canyon, Marchand touched in 1:32.64 to take the win in the 200 free and touched in 53.02 in the 100 breast for another win. 

Marchand ripped three season-bests against Stanford. He started off with a 23.27 50 breast split to help ASU win the 200 medley relay. In a tight 100 breast race, Marchand bested Ron Polansky by .03 seconds with a 51.46. It wasn’t so close in the 200 breast, where Marchand won by over 2 seconds in a 1:51.71. Marchand’s most dominant showing came in the form of the 200 IM, where he won by nearly 3.5 seconds. He finished in a time of 1:38.78, while teammate Hubert Kos (1:42.22) hit the touchpad in 2nd place. 

The Sun Devils stayed in the Bay Area another day and squared off against Cal. Marchand swam the same lineup and swam a slightly faster 51.37 100 breast and slightly slower times of 1:51.80 in the 200 breast and 1:38.93 in the 200 IM. All three were good for wins. He was 23.22 in the 50 breast relay split.

He closed out the regular season against in-state rivals Arizona. Marchand was just off his PBs in the 100 fly (44.67) and 200 fly (1:39.62). He also set a PB of 41.39 leading off ASU’s “B” 400 free relay.

On the first night of the PAC-12 Championships, Marchand’s 22.71 50 breast split combined with the rest of the ASU 200 medley relay to break the NCAA record in 1:20.55. He followed that up with a 200 free PB of 1:30.44 leading off in the 800 free relay.  Marchand opted for the 500 free over the 200 IM on day 2 and that paid off. In the final, Marchand undercut Keiran Smith’s NCAA record by .16 seconds with a 4:06.18. That swim added a 4th concurrent individual NCAA record to his portfolio. Drew Kibler later confirmed that Marchand was unrested.

On day 3, Marchand unsurprisingly won the 400 IM with a 3:34.66. Marchand also showed up on the ASU 400 medley relay, splitting 49.87 on breast. ASU bettered their own PA-12 record of 2:59.18 with a 2:58.49, the 2nd fastest performance all-time behind Florida’s NCAA Record of 2:58.32. Barchand rounded out the meet with a 1:48.60 200 breast and a 40.92 100 free leadoff in ASU’s victorious 400 free relay. 

Heading into NCAAs, psych sheets showed marchand was opting for the 500 free over a title defense in the 200 IM. Zane Grothe, the former US Open Record holder in the 500 free, laid out in a lengthy thread on X that he thought Marchand could lower his own 500 free record to a 4:02 in the 500 free at his best, and “more conservatively” at 4:04. Grothe thought Marchand would be the first man to keep all splits below 50 seconds, listing his predicted splits of 46.50/49.25/49.75/49.75/49.25 for a 4:04.50. His ‘best scenario’ list was 46.25/49.25/49.70/49.30/48.30 for a 4:02.80.

ASU opened things up matching their program record in the 200 medley relay with a 1:20.55. Marchand improved his split from PAC-12s to a 22.59 but ASU fell short of their first relay title ever as Florida set the NCAA record with a 1:20.15. 

In the 800 free relay, Texas’ Luke Hobson set the 200 free NCAA record leading off their 800 free relay in the 2nd to last heat with a 1:29.13. Marchand, leading off in the final heat, lowered that mark to a 1:28.97, giving him 5 concurrently held NCAA Records. ASU ended up 2nd again with a 6:04.95 to Cal’s 6:02.26. Hobson later reclaimed the 200 free record in the individual event, clocking a 1:28.81.

Marchand cruised through the 500 free prelims with a 4:09.54 for lane 5. Interestingly, he was well under his NCAA record pace at the 250 mark with a 2:00.81 split. In the first individual final of the meet, Marchand was pedaled to the metal from the first yard. He flipped nearly a second under record pace at the 50 in 21.09 and kept going from there. At the 100 he was 1.7 seconds under record pace with a 44.62. He then split 23.99/24.51 to flip a 1:33.12 at the 200. Marchand was 1:57.94 at the 250 (24.82). He held on over the back half, splitting 24.37/24.87/25.12/25.46/24.55, just missing staying under 50 seconds on every 100 but obliterating his record with a mind-melting 4:02.31. 

The next morning, Marchand posted a 3:35.75 400 IM to qualify back 1st. In the final, Marchand led a Sun Devil 1-2 finish, winning in a 3:32.12, well off his NCAA Record of 3:28.82 he set in 2023 but enough to win by 3 seconds. After the session, Leon said he was really focusing on the relay, making sure he swam a good first 300 and then letting the momentum carry him to the end of the race. 

That strategy paid off as Marchand turned around and dropped the fastest 100 breast split of all time in the 400 medley relay with a 48.73. The race came down to the wire against Florida, with ASU touching first by .2 seconds in 2:57.32, exactly 1 second under the previous NCAA Record. Florida ended up being DQed for a false start. This win marked ASU’s first-ever NCAA relay title. 

Marchand cruised through another prelims, taking the 3rd seed in the 200 breast with a 1:50.76. In the final, Marchand was simply dominant. Though he was out slower than his 2023 record at the 50, turning in 24.02 vs. 23.76, Marchand proceeded to out-split his old pace in all three of the next 50s, touching the wall in a 1:46.35, resetting his own NCAA record by just over half a second. Marchand wrapped things up with a 40.28 100 free leading off ASU’s victorious, NCAA-Record-setting 400 free relay which won in 2:43.40. That made him #3 in history. 

For his efforts, Marchand garnered 60 individual points, helping ASU to their first NCAA team title. 

2 days after NCAAs, Bob Bowman, ASU’s Head Coach, was announced as the new Director and Men’s Head Coach of the Univerity of Texas. Soon after, Bowman announced Marchand would be turning pro and training with Bowman at UT.

International Competition

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.

Splits Comparison:

Leon Marchand, 2023 World Championships Michael Phelps, 2008 Summer Olympics Leon Marchand, 2022 World Championships
Fly 54.66 54.92 55.54
Back 1:01.98 1:01.57 1:03.12
Breast 1:07.64 1:10.56 1:07.28
Free 58.22 56.79 58.34
Total 4:02.50 4:03.84 4:04.28

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.

Olympic Schedule Change

Behind the scenes, Marchand’s coaches — both French technical director Julien Issoulié and Arizona State head coach Bob Bowman, who also was set to coach for France because they allowed him to coach other countries’ swimmers simultaneously— lobbied for an Olympic schedule change that would make it easier for Marchand to tackle the rare 200 fly/200 breast double in late July.

“We asked that one of the two events are scheduled at the start of the session and the other towards the end,” Issoulie told French media Le Monde. “We all got involved, Bowman had the same discussion as us with World Aquatics.

The change was made and the two events were shifted apart in the schedule while remaining in the same session. 

2024 Pro Swim Series–San Antonio

Marchand posted respectable times in the 200 Breast (2:08.40), 200 fly (1:54.97), and 400 IM (4:11.21). He won the latter two while placing 2nd to Matt Fallon in the 200 breast. 

2024 Speedo Grand Challenge (Irvine, California)

Coming down from an altitude camp, Marchand posted some excellent times. He won the 100 back in 52.56, and set PBs of 59.06 and 54.55 in the 100 breast and back respectively. He also triumphed in the 200 IM with a 1:55.74 

International Medals

Place Event Year Meet
Gold 200 I.M. 2022 World Championships
Gold 400 I.M. 2022 World Championships
Silver 200 Fly 2022 World Championships
Gold 400 I.M. 2023 World Championships
Gold 200 I.M. 2023 World Championships
Gold 200 Fly 2023 World Championships
Bronze 400 I.M. 2019 World Junior Championships

Best Times

Course Event Time Date Meet
lcm 200 Free 1:46.44 06/12/23 2023 French Elite Championships
Rennes, France
lcm 100 Breast 59.06 05/24/24 2024 Speedo Grand Challenge
Irvine, California
lcm 200 Breast 2:06.59 06/11/23 2023 French Elite Championships
Rennes, France
lcm 200 Fly 1:52.43 07/26/23 2023 World Aquatics Championships
Fukuoka, Japan
lcm 200 IM 1:54.82 07/27/23 2023 World Aquatics Championships
Fukuoka, Japan
lcm 400 IM 4:02.50 07/23/23 2023 World Aquatics Championships
Fukuoka, Japan
scy 100 Free 40.28 03/30/24 2024 NCAA Championships
Indianapolis, Indiana
scy 200 Free 1:28.97 03/27/24 2024 NCAA Championships
Indianapolis, Indiana
scy 500 Free 4:02.31 03/28/24 2024 NCAA Championships
Indianapolis, Indiana
scy 100 Back 44.77 02/04/23 Arizona vs. Arizona State
Tempe, Arizona
scy 100 Breast 51.01 01/21/23 Arizona State vs. Cal
Tempe, Arizona
scy 200 Breast 1:46.35 03/30/24 2024 NCAA Championships
Indianapolis, Indiana
scy 200 Fly 1:39.57 11/19/22 2022 NC State GAC Fall Invite
Greensboro, North Carolina
scy 200 IM 1:36.34 03/23/23 2023 NCAA Championships
Minneapolis, Minnesota
scy 400 IM 3:28.82 03/24/23 2023 NCAA Championships
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Leon Marchand (photo: Jack Spitser) Leon Marchand Hugo Gonzalez (photo: Jack Spitser) Leon Marchand (photo: Jack Spitser) Leon Marchand (photo: Jack Spitser) Leon Marchand (photo: Jack Spitser) Leon Marchand, courtesy of Fabio Cetti Leon Marchand (photo: Jack Spitser)