He was expected, he came… and we saw! Léon Marchand, 20, flew over the 400m medley final of the Budapest Worlds to sign the second best performance of all time over the distance!
In the morning, the prodigy of the Blues, tanned in Hungary for the Junior Worlds three years ago, had already improved his own French record in the playoffs (4′09′’09).
The Toulouse swimmer is the first Frenchman in history to be crowned in medley. And the second medalist, 24 years after the world silver of… his father Xavier in the 200m 4 medley!
Sixth in the Tokyo Olympics on his favorite distance last year, Marchand is the No. 1 asset in blue-white-red swimming for the ring race in 2024 in Paris. Since the fall of 2021, the young man has been in exile in the suburbs of Phoenix (USA), on the campus of Arizona State University, where he works under the orders of Bob Bowman, mentor of Michael Phelps, the legend in 28 Olympic medals (including 23 titles).
“Michael follows what Leon is doing, even blows Bowman, who was integrated into the coaching staff of the France team for the Worlds. He gives me his opinion on the races and I take his analyzes into consideration. Every time Léon swims in competition he looks at his times, his videos and gives me his feedback…” On the other side of the Atlantic, the “Frenchie”, who studies computer science, has gained weight ( which he explains by “muscu and burger”) and a lot of insurance.
“I didn’t think I was going to be successful in the United States in my first year, but I always had in mind that I wanted to be an Olympic champion one day. I don’t know when, we’ll see, he smiles. We put in place things that allow me to be good at the present moment, that is to say in the final at the Games in Paris. »
In the meantime, Marchand still has two Hungarian meetings (200m butterfly and 200m medley) to honour…