The Splitting Strategies Employed By Lasco & Marchand In 1:38.3 200 IM Prelim Scorchers


Leon Marchand and Destin Lasco showed that they were on good form on Wednesday night at the Men’s NCAA Championships, and that momentum carried forward into this morning’s prelims session in Minneapolis.

Swimming in the first of three circle-seeded heats of the 200 IM, Lasco recorded the fifth-fastest swim of all-time in 1:38.32, notably blasting the backstroke leg in 24.10—a full second faster than he was en route to his personal best time of 1:38.21 in the 2022 final.

Two heats later, Marchand ripped through the first 150 yards at an incredible pace, touching in 1:13.00, more than a second under his NCAA and U.S. Open Record pace (1:14.15). That split also put him more than two seconds ahead of Lasco’s pace (1:15.08) with 50 yards to go.

Marchand then coasted in on free in 25.33, touching in 1:38.33 to qualify second for the final, .01 back of Lasco.

Split Comparison, 2023 Prelims

Lasco Marchand
21.88 21.43
45.98 (24.10) 45.06 (23.63)
1:15.08 (29.10) 1:13.00 (27.94)
1:38.32 (23.24) 1:38.33 (25.33)

In last year’s final, Lasco held back on the backstroke leg before putting the gas down on the breast leg. He essentially broke even by going significantly faster on back and slower on breast this morning, so we’ll see if he can find a happy medium tonight and push the middle 100 under 53 seconds (he was 53.09 last year and 53.20 this morning).

Lasco Split Comaprison

Lasco, 2022 Final
Lasco, 2023 Prelims
22.02 21.88
25.11 (47.13) 45.98 (24.10)
1:15.11 (27.98) 1:15.08 (29.10)
1:38.21 (23.10) 1:38.32 (23.24)

As for Marchand, he was sub-24 on backstroke and under 28 on breaststroke in the prelims, which is something he didn’t do in either of his 1:37 swims. It’s not apples to apples, but it’s also notable that his opening 100 split of 45.06 would’ve earned a second swim in both the 100 fly and 100 back last year.

Marchand Split Comparison

Marchand, 2022 NCAA Final Marchand, 2023 Pac-12s
Marchand, 2023 NCAA Prelims
21.42 21.52 21.43
45.74 (24.32) 45.86 (24.34) 45.06 (23.63)
1:14.15 (28.41) 1:14.03 (28.17) 1:13.00 (27.94)
1:37.69 (23.54) 1:37.81 (23.78) 1:38.33 (25.33)

Given the freestyle form Marchand’s on, it seems imminent he’ll close in 23-something and enter rarefied air with a 1:36 in the 200 IM.

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

  1. Leon Marchand (ASU), 1:37.69 – 2022 NCAA Championships
  2. Leon Marchand (ASU), 1:37.81 – 2023 Pac-12 Championships
  3. Caeleb Dressel (FLOR), 1:38.13 – 2018 SEC Championships
  4. Andrew Seliskar (CAL), 1:38.14 – 2019 NCAA Championships
  5. Destin Lasco (CAL), 1:38.21 – 2022 NCAA Championships
  6. Destin Lasco (CAL), 1:38.32 – 2023 NCAA Championships
  7. Leon Marchand (ASU), 1:38.33 – 2023 NCAA Championships
  8. Destin Lasco (CAL), 1:38.71 – 2022 NCAA Championships
  9. Hugo Gonzalez (CAL), 1:38.72 – 2023 Pac-12 Championships
  10. Shaine Casas (TAMU), 1:38.95 – 2020 Art Adamson Invite

Last night, the ASU sophomore ripped the fastest relay splits of all-time in both the 50 breast (22.27) and 200 free (1:28.42), while Lasco also had a scintillating leg on the 800 free relay in 1:29.53.

The two are now setup for a marquee matchup in tonight’s final, with NC State’s Arsenio Bustos coming in as the third seed with a very strong prelim swim in 1:40.24. Texas’ Carson Foster (1:40.56) and Cal’s Hugo Gonzalez (1:40.57) sit fourth and fifth.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

The bit about Marchand finaling in both the 100 back and 100 fly with his first 100 time is pretty crazy- he’d have placed 11th in the 100 fly and 14th in the 100 back.

Torri is the only one who would’ve done that on the women’s side in prelims, with a 51.63 that would’ve placed 13th in the 100 back and 14th in the 100 fly at 2022 NCAAs. Alex’s finals time would’ve also placed 13/14 in the 100 back/fly, while Torri would’ve gone 13/13 and Kate would be 8/7.

Marchand can do the same kind of A-finaling with like a 0.3 second drop but I guess I’m not expecting it bc it seems a lot harder… Read more »

K Chilly
1 year ago

His second lap of breast was unreal(1:15 on video) . It looks like he debated hitting 4 strokes and then rushed his last two. Despite this he still hit a 27.9 and was faster than his NCAA record split. This 200 breast is going to be scary fast.

1 year ago

Always rooting for Lasco but he has unusually quick breaststroke splits for a backstroker. I think a substantial cohort of commenters the last 2 years agreed he has a really soft touch on his back to breast turn. Idk how likely this is, maybe his strategy is to not hit the gas on his best stroke too much (he is a notorious back halfer), but it’s also possible that his back / breast split variations are due to whether the touch pad is tracking his hand or feet on that turn.

Last edited 1 year ago by Penguin
Andy Hardt
1 year ago

Another way to frame Lasco’s splits is that he also shut it down. Slower on both breaststroke and freestyle than last year’s finals, and most of the time if you do that and are still top seed, people assume you’ve shut it down a little bit. Lasco is a famously fast finisher, so his relatively slower back half is still faster than everyone else’s, but as we saw in the 800 free relay, the man has gears!

Of course, it’s completely plausible that it was an all-out effort for Lasco (or even possibly for Marchand). That’s the thing about prelims, you never 100% know who has something left over.

Mr Sandals
1 year ago

Predicting a 1:36 low tonight from Marchand

Reply to  Mr Sandals
1 year ago

Seems safe

1650 Onetrick
Reply to  Mr Sandals
1 year ago

aged well

1650 Onetrick
1 year ago

As I mentioned in the live recap, as a proportion of the total time, Marchand’s freestyle split is the same an Michael Andrew’s at the 2021 Olympic finals:

Marchand split a 25.33 going 1:38.32, which is 25.76% of the race
MA split a 30.69 going 1:57.31, which is 26.16% of the race.

Grant Drukker
1 year ago

Lasco 137.5 or a little quicker
Marchand 136.5

1 year ago

Let’s be super conservative and say tonight he comes home in a 24.00. That would still put him at a 1:37.00. Realistically I think we could be in store for a 1:35 high to a 1:36 mid

Reply to  KSW
1 year 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 …

Read More »