Marchand Marvels Again, Knocks Off NCAA Record With 1:46.91 200 Breast


Leon Marchand‘s tour de force in the pool continued Saturday night in the final of the 200 breaststroke at the Men’s NCAA Championships, as he set his third all-time record of the meet en route to successfully defending his title.

Marchand finished in a final time of 1:46.91, breaking the NCAA and U.S. Open Record of 1:47.67 he set earlier this month at the Pac-12 Championships.

Prior to that swim, the all-time record stood at 1:47.91 from Texas’ Will Licon for six years (2017).

Marchand stuck with the strategy he utilized in both medley events, going out in a blistering pace over the first half of the race. He turned in 50.65 at the 100, a time that would’ve placed third in the individual 100 breast, and then closed just over two-tenths slower than he did in his record swim earlier this month at Pac-12s.

Last year, Marchand won the NCAA title in the 200 breast in a time of 1:48.20.

Split Comparison

Marchand, 2022 NCAAs Marchand – 2023 PAC-12s Marchand, 2023 NCAAs
24.67 24.37 23.76
52.01 (27.34) 51.71 (27.34) 50.65 (26.89)
1:19.88 (27.87) 1:19.46 (27.75) 1:18.42 (27.77)
1:48.20 (28.32) 1:47.67 (28.21) 1:46.91 (28.49)

The Arizona State sophomore now owns three of the five fastest swims in history.

All-Time Performances, Men’s 200 Breaststroke (SCY)

  1. Leon Marchand (Arizona State), 1:46.91 – 2023 NCAA Championships
  2. Leon Marchand (Arizona State), 1:47.67 – 2023 Pac-12 Championships
  3. Will Licon (Texas), 1:47.91 – 2017 NCAA Championships
  4. Will Licon (Texas), 1:48.12 – 2016 NCAA Championships
  5. Leon Marchand (Arizona State), 1:48.20 – 2022 NCAA Championships
  6. Reece Whitley (Cal), 1:48.53 – 2020 Cal vs. Stanford
  7. Kevin Cordes (Arizona), 1:48.66 – 2014 NCAA Championships
  8. Kevin Cordes (Arizona), 1:48.68 – 2013 NCAA Championships
  9. Andrew Seliskar (Cal), 1:48.70 – 2019 NCAA Championships
  10. Max McHugh (Minnesota), 1:48.76 – 2022 NCAA Championships

Marchand finishes the championships with a perfect three-for-three record individually, and thus far in every finals race he’s swum, he’s produced the fastest time in history.

He also became the first swimmer sub-1:37 in the 200 IM, sub-3:31/3:30/3:29 in the 400 IM, and now sub-1:47 in the 200 breast.


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Swimswam follower
2 months ago

Remember Leon made the finals at the Olympics before Bowman.
With Bowman not only is he on another level but at a supernova level. And I believe this is just the beginning. He’s really hungry for Paris and a team player for ASU, a win/win situation. Congratulations Leon, Coach Bowman, and ASU.

2 months ago

After what we’ve witnessed from Leon this weekend, I know the more pressing question is what this means for his LC swimming, but I wanna know something else:

Could he break Dressel’s 100IM WR?

2 months ago

This guy is getting into otherworldly times now. Splitting times on 200s and 400s that would be close to winning the 100 a few years ago.

Miss M
2 months ago

Who wins the Marchant v Douglass battle on power points for that swim?

Phenomenal meets from both of them!

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  Miss M
2 months ago

Marchand is not nearly as smooth as Douglass but he’s much better at anticipating distance to the wall and adjusting his final strokes accordingly. He never allows the long glide that often costs Douglass so much time. Same thing in butterfly. Actually more pronounced difference in butterfly. Marchand threw in a couple of consecutive 3/4 length strokes the other day to slam the fall on full touch. Douglass would never have done that. She relies on predetermined stroke count and would have been stuck with the long glide.

I think it’s partially because Douglass spends most of her time training in the sprint group with Gretchen. There’s not nearly as much concern about adjusting distance to wall in sprint freestyle.

Fraser Thorpe
Reply to  Miss M
2 months ago

I’d be interested in an article comparing them, and also how they compare to the other all time great NCAA performances

2 months ago

I noticed he used a different race strategy this meet than what I’ve seen from him previously. Go out super fast and hold on. The only final 50 he had that stood out was the second 50 on the free relay.

Previously the back half of his races stood out more, comparatively. Both strategies work for him. Just an amazing athlete.

Reply to  zdh
2 months ago

Almost all of the top end swimmers these days (or at least those that are taking records to new heights) are doing the same thing: go as fast as possible for as long as possible. That seems to be the main evolution of this sport.

Reply to  DrSwimPhil
2 months ago

I don’t know about that. ZSC, McKeown and Titmus have all broken WRs in the last year and they’re all back halfers

Fraser Thorpe
Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Titmus broke the record tho by going against her usual back half and blasting the first 200 faster than the record.

Reply to  zdh
2 months ago

I almost think he’s going at a hair too fast, especially in this race. I get why he’s going out so fast, but I think if he just controlled the first half of the race a tad more he’d have a much better back half for a faster overall time.

That’s how Phelps did it.

Reply to  Yabo
2 months ago

Except it seems the growing theory is that the way to be better than Phelps (and other previous record holders) is to go out faster and still come home the same. I guess Ledecky could be argued as kind of a pioneer to this idea, but look at what’s happening elsewhere in relatively recent times. Dressel, same way. Milak, same way. Even Titmus (as mentioned above), same way. About the only event we haven’t really seen this yet is the LCM 200 Br, and even then that’s starting to trend that way.

Swimswam follower
Reply to  Yabo
2 months ago

He doesn’t want the same thing to happen to him like the 400 im in 2022. He’s not going to make the same mistake twice. He needs to take it out. He wants to get better. He’s talking 325 in the 400im. We all know he can do it and he’s willing and wants to work hard for it.

Wayne Alder McCauley
2 months ago

Besides the three events he won in huge record times, let’s look at other events starting at those he definitely would have won.
!00 Breast, easily by over a second.
100 Back, he went 44.0 on the 400 IM, the winner was only 4th faster. USED to be his weak stroke. LOL.
200 Back, yeh he would break the record by over a second
200 free, maybe 1:28?
100 free ?? sub
500 free, maybe 4:02?
200 fly, easily by 2 seconds
100 fly, maybe breaking the record

Scarry to think of his LCM times this summer. Could he do sub 4 minutes in the 400 IM? Sub 1:52 in the 200… Read more »

Reply to  Wayne Alder McCauley
2 months ago

If he goes those LCM times he’s the greatest athlete ever lol

Reply to  Wayne Alder McCauley
2 months ago

I think the LCM times are a little unrealistic for this summer. I definitely see him breaking the 400IM WR, quite possibly the 200IM as well. A 2:01 200 breast when the current WR is 2:05.9? I don’t see it. He’s not beating a 200 WR by over 4 seconds. And he would have to improve his PB from 8 months ago by 7 seconds.

I suspect he may go for the 200 fly in Paris instead of the 200 breast because of the schedule. 200 breast is immediately before the 4×2 relay and France is going to want to fill every relay at a home Olympics.

Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

He gave an interview to a French media on March 14th and he should swim the 200 Breast in Paris.It’s what he wants. But, he won’t swim the 200 Breast this summer at World’s because of the schedule. He’ll swim four strokes at Olympics : 200 breast, 200 fly, 200 IM and 400 I’m. Plus the relays.

Reply to  Greenangel
2 months ago

The day 4 finals session is (in this order):

M200 Fly
M100 Free
W1500 Free
W100 Free
M200 Breast
M4x200 Free relay

So if he does that he’ll be swimming 3 200s in the same session. That doesn’t seem like the best idea. If he skips the relay then I guess there is a fair amount of time between the 200 fly and 200 breast but I can’t imagine he’ll be able to give the 200 breast his all. I just assumed he would choose one.

Why wouldn’t he swim the 200 breast in Fukuoka? It’s got a better schedule than Paris and doesn’t have the conflict with the 200 fly?

Swimswam follower
Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

He even knows the walls help him. But he’s a long course swimmer too.

Swim Alchemist
Reply to  Wayne Alder McCauley
2 months ago

He split 49.2 in breast on the relay…beating McHugh by over a second means 48.99 flat start…that’s a bit ambitious.

100 back possible but not a slam dunk. Don’t forget he’s still going off the block compared to the 100 backstroker who started in the water.

200 back not sure, but wouldn’t be surprised if he did win (just don’t have any data).

200 free he wins with a 1:28 a possibility.

100 free he wouldn’t have gone 40.2 flat start.

500 free he wins unsure of time.

200 fly same thoughts as 200 back.

100 fly it’s possible he wins and possible he breaks record.

As GREAT as Marchand is, LCM times seem ambitious.

Reply to  Swim Alchemist
2 months ago

Agree except: he wins the 2fly without question, likely breaking all time record.

2 months ago

His records as a senior might possibly be even more than Dresselesque if he stays on (100PB in a 200?!)
Bowman’s second chance to do what he could not with Phelps in the SCY pool is finally in full swing, hope he stays for the full 4 years

Reply to  Pillow
2 months ago

I know people say he might go pro after this meet to cash in but unless I hear other wise I do believe he’ll do at least 1 more year of colligate swimming. There’s not too much interference with LCM for him until after next season plus for him I think he wants to see how much further he can push it.

Frank A Wilson
Reply to  Pillow
2 months ago

I am certain Leon will stay swimming at ASU through the next school year. He has the right coach for him who knows how to help him do his best both in short course yards and long course meters. Proof is his two world championships LCM in Budapest last June. After the Olympics he might join Bob Bowman’s pro group but I am certain no decision has been made yet.

2 months ago


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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