Leon Marchand Gets To 1:52.43 In 200 Butterfly To Become 3rd-Fastest Man In History


Leon Marchand won the 2023 world title in the 200 butterfly and became the 3rd-fastest man in history with a time of 1:52.43. He lowered his own French record as well, which previously stood at 1:53.37 from the 2022 World Championships. In the absence of world record holder and reigning world champion Kristof Milak, Marchand won the event by over a second as Poland’s Krzysztof Chmielewski who swam 1:53.52. Tomoru Honda rounded out the podium by hitting 1:53.66.

Marchand is in elite company in the top 3 rankings of the men’s 200 butterfly as Milak and Michael Phelps hold the top two spots. Marchand replaced Daiya Seto as the all-time third-fastest man here. Seto swam a 1:52.53 Asian and Japanese record back in 2020.

All-time Rankings – Men’s 200 Butterfly

  1. Kristof Milak – 1:50.34
  2. Michael Phelps – 1:51.51
  3. Leon Marchand – 1:52.43
  4. Daiya Seto – 1:52.53
  5. Tomoru Honda / Laszlo Cseh – 1:52.70
  6. Chad le Clos – 1:52.96
  7. Takeshi Matsuda – 1:52.97

This 200 butterfly victory is Leon Marchand‘s second gold medal swim of the 2023 World Championships following his 400 IM earlier in the week. Marchand had what might end up being the swim of the meet in the 400 IM when he destroyed Michael Phelps‘ world record in the event with a time of 4:02.50.

Marchand came into this meet as the defending champion in the 400 IM, as well as the 200 IM, and was the silver medalist last year in the 200 butterfly. Milak won the event at the 2022 meet and is the favorite to win any time he swims it. Milak still has over two seconds on the entire world in the 200 butterfly, including Marchand. It will be interesting to see how close Marchand can get to Milak next year at the Paris Olympics should they both race the event there.

The next race on Marchand’s docket is the 200 IM in which he will enter the final as the top seed after swimming 1:56.34 in the semi-final. He posted a time of 1:55.22 to set a new national record and win this event last year at the World Championships.

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4 months ago

In waters deep, where champions vie,
Leon Marchand soared, reaching high,
With wings of skill, he took to flight,
1:52.43, third-fastest, oh, my!

He conquered the waves, won gold twice,
French record shattered, a feat so grand,
Among legends he now does rise,
With Milak and Phelps, his name does stand.

4 months ago

Great swim from Marchand, but still two seconds behind Milak

Steve Nolan
4 months ago

Wild that Japan has three dudes in that list. They just sorta have guys in random 200-400m events sprinkled in the top-10 all time.

4 months ago

Imagine if he swims the 200 breast in prelims to break the world record and then just scratches semi finals

Reply to  Khachaturian
4 months ago

Would be the ultimate flex

4 months ago

Marchand said today that he hadn’t made up his mind yet ( whether or not to do the 200 breaststroke). He’ll decide tonight, if he’s feeling good, he’s willing to take the risk (the 200im final is 10′ after the 200 breaststroke 1/2). Bowman doesn’t agree, but Léon Marchand still reserves that possibility.

Last edited 4 months ago by TerrificLéon
4 months ago

His Paris schedule will be interesting. 2Fly and 2 breast are same day, but don’t conflict with IM. Presumably he picks one. He could also swim 100 breast, but not sure that makes sense. As for relays, it looks like 4×100 free and medley relay wouldn’t cramp his schedule too much, but 4×200 free would create some extra work in the middle of his heaviest schedule when France has little chance to medal. It’d be really interesting to see a candid discussion with him and Bowman on how they pick his schedule for Paris.

4 months ago

Awesome swim. I don’t get why he chose the 2 fly over the 2 breast though. Wouldn’t you think he has a more realistic chance at a world record or a historic performance at least in the breast than in the fly?

Eric Angle
Reply to  WaterJockey
4 months ago

It’s due to the event schedule. Without any conflicts he’d surely swim the 200 breast.

We don’t know for certain that he isn’t swimming the 200 breast. Assuming he doesn’t, the reason is that the only conflict for the 200 fly was that the 200 fly final and 200 IM semi were in the same session (with the 200 fly final before the 200 IM semi), and there was enough time in between the two to manage it.

In contrast, the 200 breast semi is right before the 200 IM final without even a women’s event in between.

Reply to  Eric Angle
4 months ago

Ah okay that makes a lot of sense then.

Reply to  WaterJockey
4 months ago

Yep. The 200 breast semis tomorrow are immediately before the 200 IM final. As Eric explained the 200 fly/200 IM double made much more sense this year.

Fukuoka Gold
4 months ago

Note to Foster:

Please pivot to 200 back and maybe move to Backstroke Uni

Wanna Sprite?
Reply to  Fukuoka Gold
4 months ago

With his longhorn tattoo lol