And three: after the gold in the 400m medley with a European record on Saturday and the silver in the 200m butterfly, enhanced with a French record, on Tuesday, Léon Marchand continues to walk on water . This Wednesday evening in Budapest (Hungary), the Toulousain indeed signed a new feat in the 200m medley by offering himself a third medal. And what a medal! Gold, again. In 1′55′’22, new best French mark at the key.
He succeeds Xavier, his brother, and Phelps
At only 20 years old, the Frenchman built this new coronation with the mastery of an old veteran. He controlled in butterfly and backstroke before blowing up everything in breaststroke, his specialty, and winning without shuddering in a crawl length for history. Over this distance, Léon Marchand succeeds his father, Xavier, vice-world champion in the 200m medley in 1998 in Perth.
And since he is fearless and knows how to choose the right waves, we can also point out that, in the world charts, the new star of blue waters is placed in heir to the Americans Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps, last before him, to have been crowned in the 200m medley and 400m medley. With Phelps, the filiation is also to be underlined. Since September, Léon Marchand has been training in Phoenix, Arizona, under the orders and benevolent rigor of Bob Bowman, former mentor of the legend, the best swimmer of all time.
“I learned a lot in the United States”
If Catherine Plewinski, in 1991 (silver in 50 and 100m, bronze in 100m butterfly), and Laure Manaudou, in 2007 (gold in 200 and 400m, silver in 800m and 100m backstroke, bronze with the 4x200m), had already won three medals in the same world championship, Léon Marchand is the first French swimmer to succeed.
“It’s incredible, he said at the microphone of France 4. Before I started, I saw the French win two medals (Maxime Grousset, silver in the 100m, and Analia Pigrée in the 50m backstroke). Something special is happening in this France team. For my race, I did well to be on line 4 (reserved for the best time in the semi-finals), it allowed me to control well. It’s often on the breaststroke that I make the difference, that I take the lead before finishing in the crawl. »
In Paris, in 2024, all dreams are allowed
“The maturity, added Léon Marchand, it is explained by a lot of things. I have known for a long time, notably thanks to my parents (Céline Bonnet, her mother, took part in the 1992 Games) that swimming is not an easy sport. I also learned a lot in the United States. And even if these are my first senior Worlds, I have already taken part in many international competitions. »
French swimming has found its new owner. And, it’s set to last. Léon Marchand will only be 22 years old at the Paris Games in 2024, and all dreams, especially the most beautiful, are allowed to him! It promises. And in his wake, Bowman’s pupil seems to transcend the Blues.
Because French swimming experienced a historic day on Wednesday June 22, with three medals for the first time at the Worlds on the same evening. A few minutes before Léon Marchand’s gold, Maxime Grousset had won silver in the 100m freestyle, becoming the 7th Frenchman to win a world podium in the queen distance (after Michel Rousseau in silver in 1973, Stéphan Caron in silver in 1986, Alain Bernard in silver in 2009, Frédérick Bousquet in bronze in 2009, William Meynard in bronze in 2011 and Mehdy Metella in bronze in 2017). Analia Pigrée, she went for the bronze in the 50m backstroke, with a breath and a touch.