Leon Marchand is First Man Since Michael Phelps to Hold Both 200 & 400 IM SCY Records

On Saturday at the Arizona State versus Cal dual meet, 20-year-old Leon Marchand of ASU smashed the NCAA and U.S. Open Records in the 400 yard IM, posting a 3:31.84, taking over a second off of Hugo Gonzalez‘s mark set at the 2022 NCAA Championships. This swim was remarkable for a myriad of reasons, which are discussed on the SwimSwam podcast.

On Friday in a dual meet against Stanford, Marchand posted a 1:38.89 in the 200 IM, the fastest time of the 2022-2023 NCAA season, though about a second slower than his lifetime best of 1:37.69, established at the 2022 NCAA Championships. That mark also stands as the NCAA and U.S. Open Record in the 200 IM.

With his new record in the 400 IM, Marchand is now the first male swimmer in 16 years to simultaneously hold the all-time fastest marks in both the 200 and 400 IMs in short course yards. The last time one man held the fastest all-time records in both yards IMs was in March 2006 when both records were held by Michael Phelps. For Arizona State Head Coach Bob Bowman, this represents a rare achievement as he was also the architect behind Phelps’ career. Now, Bowman is guiding Marchand, the new heir-apparent of the men’s individual medleys, through what is shaping up to be a record-laden Olympic quad as Paris 2024 gets nearer.

In early March of 2006 at the American Short Course Championships in Austin, TX, Phelps posted a 3:36.26 in the 400 yard IM, slashing nearly 2 seconds from Tom Dolan‘s 11-year-old Record from the 1995 NCAA Championships. Phelps capped off the meet with another American and U.S. Open Record in the 200 IM, posting a 1:41.30, shaving over 4-tenths off the mark set by Ryan Lochte at the 2005 NCAA Championships.

Phelps’ reign as the fastest all-time in the 200 and 400 yard IMs was short-lived as long-time rival Lochte lowered the NCAA, U.S. Open, and American Records in the 200 IM to a 1:40.55 at the 2006 NCAA Championships. Phelps’ record in the 400 IM would stand until March of 2009 when Tyler Clary, representing the University of Michigan, Dolan’s alma mater, swam a 3:35.98. Clary’s record, meanwhile, would stand for 5 years until it was broken by Chase Kalisz in 2014 and then lowered again by Kalisz in 2017 to a 3:33.42, the current American Record and 3rd-fastest performance all-time.

Though Kalisz represented the University of Georgia and was coached by Jack Bauerle while swimming in the NCAA, he is also a product of North Baltimore Aquatic Club and was coached by Bowman in high school and in the year leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games, alongside Phelps. Currently, Kalisz trains at Arizona State University in Bowman’s elite pro group.

Speaking on the SwimSwam Podcast, Bowman said that Marchand reminds him of Michael Phelps in 2003, a year when Phelps won 3 individual gold medals (200 IM, 400 IM, 200 fly) and broke 5 World Records (200 IM x2, 400 IM, 200 fly, 100 fly) at the 2003 FINA World Championships in Barcelona. One year later at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Phelps won 6 gold and 2 bronze medals, falling just short of tying Mark Spitz’s then-record of 7 gold medals in a single Games.

Marchand is now over 4 seconds faster than Phelps ever was in the 400 yard IM. At the 2022 FINA World Championships, Marchand scared Phelps’ World Record in the 400 LCM IM with a 4:04.28, missing Phelps’ 4:03.84 from the 2008 Beijing Olympics by about 4-tenths of a second. While the recent yards performance should bode well for the Frenchman going into the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka in July, it is worth nothing that 8 different men have surpassed Phelps’ yards time from 2006, though none of them other than Marchand have come close to Phelps’ long course World Record. (Ryan Lochte swam an impressive 4:05.18 at the 2012 London Olympics, though his best yards time is a 3:37.88 from 2007.)

A quick note on NCAA, U.S. Open, and American Records: Marchand and formerly Phelps are the fastest all-time in the 200 and 400 yard IMs. Though both have at one point owned the U.S. Open Records in these races, Phelps could never own an NCAA Record as he turned pro at age 16, foregoing college swimming. Marchand, meanwhile, is French and therefore cannot hold an American Record. Nonetheless, each man has at one point been the fastest to ever swim each race.

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Andrew
1 month ago

I’ll say it again, but the fact that Phelps and Lochte are STILL the standard for men’s IM is ridiculous. Lochte 1:54 in 12 years ago is simply mind boggling and it’s somewhat unfortunate that he peaked in the years following the supersuit ban. Prime Lochte with a supersuit could’ve been 1:53 low/4:01 high 2/4 IM respectively. And don’t even get me started on his 2 back and 2 free…

Meathead
1 month ago

well, the isn’t totally accurate….Nicolas Granger holds the 200 and 400 IM records in the USMS 45-49 age group, both set in April 2015

The unoriginal Tim
Reply to  Meathead
1 month ago

No.

Demarrit Steenbergen
1 month ago

Best 200er ever scy

BearlyBreathing
Reply to  Demarrit Steenbergen
1 month ago

Yeah but how’s his 75 with fins?

bob
Reply to  BearlyBreathing
1 month ago

I bet absolutely disgusting

Sub13
1 month ago

The men’s and women’s IMs were both fairly pedestrian in Tokyo (men’s 200 probably the closest to being “good” times) so it’s great to see that all four events seem to have progressed rapidly since then.

I can’t wait to see what Leon does in LCM this year. Double WR incoming?

Noah
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

Wasnt Wang Shun the 3rd faster performer OAT?

The unoriginal Tim
Reply to  Noah
1 month ago

I upvoted but compared to what came before it doesn’t feel impressive. Old Phelps doing multiple events with the late night schedule in Rio was faster than Tokyo.

RealSlimThomas
1 month ago

All SCY records should be submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records. That way, there is no question they are world records.

torchbearer
Reply to  RealSlimThomas
1 month ago

Do they have World Records in the Guinness Book in cubits as well?

Sean Justice
1 month ago

was Greg Burgess the one that owned both 2&4 before Phelps did it?

Gummy Shark
1 month ago

We cannot beat Leon Marchand, we can only study him.

Seth
1 month ago

I know Phelps is a LCM guy, but his yards records were still fast. It’s kind blowing that a swimmer this young can have these records and not be tapered.

RealSlimThomas
Reply to  Seth
1 month ago

I get your point. I think historically young swimmers have been able to swim much faster in-season, while older swimmers have struggled to recover in the middle of tough training.

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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