Leon Marchand Turning Pro, Done With College Swimming

After accomplishing everything there is to accomplish in college swimming, Leon Marchand is turning pro.

The much-speculated move was confirmed by head coach Bob Bowman on Friday while speaking to the press at the Pro Swim Series in San Antonio, where Marchand and a number of Bowman’s other swimmers from Arizona State are competing.

“He’s a pro, he’ll be a pro….he is a pro. That’s it,” Bowman said when asked about Marchand’s plans following Bowman’s move to the University of Texas.

Bowman said that was the plan for Marchand regardless of whether or not he took the coaching gig at Texas.

“He was going to do that at ASU,” Bowman said. “He was going to be finished with the NCAA after this past meet (NCAA Championships).”

Bowman declined to comment on the status of Hubert Kos, who entered the NCAA transfer portal last week.

Having checked off that box last month, and adding several more U.S. Open and NCAA records to his resume, Marchand is set to transition into life as a full-time professional.

As the poster boy of the Paris Olympics this summer, Marchand stands to benefit financially greatly, much more so than he would’ve been able to if he maintained his college eligibility and had to abide by the name, image and likeness (NIL) rules—especially as a foreign student-athlete.

He’ll train with Bowman at the University of Texas, joining a stacked pro group that already includes one of his biggest international rivals, American Carson Foster.

After a long road to the NCAA title at Arizona State, Bowman was announced as the new Director of Swimming and the men’s head coach at Texas on April 1.

His pro swimmers at ASU, such as Regan Smith and Chase Kalisz, are expected to join him in Austin, as are some college names including Kos, Owen McDonald and Zalan Sarkanywho also entered the transfer portal recently.

While speaking to the media, Bowman also confirmed he’ll be on staff with the French team at the Paris Olympics, avoiding any conflicts of interest that might arise similar to last year, when he was coaching Marchand at the 2023 World Championships while also serving as head coach of the U.S. men’s team.

“For several reasons,” Bowman said of why he’ll be on the French staff. “Last summer when I was the head coach of the U.S. team, and I also had Leon, who beat some guys there, I sat down and the first question was ‘Will Leon break Michael’s record.’ I don’t want to be in that position, I don’t want to put Team USA in that position. I would never do that, and I have a feeling in Paris Leon might be a little bigger than he was last summer.

“So it just makes it so much better for everyone for me to coach with the French because the French have no stipulations about me coaching other nationalities and it’s a little different with the USA team, which I certainly respect. So it just makes sense for everybody because I can coach everybody that I’m coaching now.”

With his NCAA career concluding, Marchand exits holding the following U.S. Open and NCAA Records individually:

He’s also a member of the U.S. Open and NCAA Record-setting teams in the 400 free relay (2:43.40) and 400 medley relay (2:57.32) for Arizona State, having dropped the fastest breaststroke split of all-time in the latter (48.73) and one of the fastest flat-start 100 frees ever in the former (40.28).

Marchand also spent a short time as the NCAA and U.S. Open Record holder in the 200 free (1:28.97), and owns the fastest flying leg in NCAA history with his 1:28.42 split in the 800 free relay from the 2023 NCAA Championships.

Overall, Marchand won eight individual NCAA titles, two relays, and wrapped things up with a national team title in his three-year college career.

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lil swimmy jr.
1 month ago

I’m guessing in the next week we learn that Leon signs with Speedo and I’m betting that Texas’s contracts with Arena and Mizuno are up this year. Leon gonna go train at Texas with Bob and bring a new speedo branding for the team along with him.

Ron Henderson
1 month ago

I would imagine Leon plans to continue training with Bob. Does anybody know what time of visa he can get to be allowed to stay in USA for so long?

Reply to  Ron Henderson
1 month ago

P1-A visa it seems

1 month ago

Could you imagine watching the Texas workouts with all these guys going at each other every day? There’s going to be some crazy fast sets over there!

1 month ago

For me, the most impressive time was Marchan 40.2 in 100 free. If you asked me if Marchan was capable of that before, I would say “NO WAY!”.What a range…

1 month ago

In hindsight, Hugo Gonzalez beating Marchand in the 400 IM at 2022 NCAAs feels like one of the biggest upsets in recent swimming history.

1 month ago

Why is USA swimming not hiring Bob Bowman as their long term coach? The man is probably the best swim coach in history. Is his asking price that high?

JJ jfhfjg
Reply to  Swimdad
1 month ago

Read again, slowly, then read it again and delete this.

Reply to  JJ jfhfjg
1 month ago


Reply to  Swimdad
1 month ago

To coach who on a regular basis? There is a reason they moved from a national team coach model to a national team director model. Even when they had a national team coach, they chose a staff to lead the team at each international meet.

1 month ago

I can’t wait for SC Worlds now! Surely he’ll be there.

Khase Calisz
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

How many records is he breaking in Budapest? I’ll get started with the following:
400 IM
200 IM
100 IM
400 free
200 free
200 fly
200 breast

1 month ago

He was a maniac in the water! Made college swimming look easy!

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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