Leon Marchand of France is an upcoming French swimmer who has taken the NCAA by storm. The 20-year old swimmer is one of the finest IMers (Individual Medley) in the world today, having also participated at the Olympics in Tokyo for his country.
Despite winning no medals at the Olympics, he has made positive changes that saw him win his first professional gold and set a European record last year.
On Saturday, the Frenchman broke the NCAA record of 400-yard IM, swimming for Arizona State University's Sun Devils.
ASU is famous for its legendary coach Bob Bowman, who, after the race, spoke to SwimSwam, where he drew a comparison between Marchand and 2003's Michael Phelps:
"I spoke to Eddie Reese, we texted yeasterday, and I was like 'Leon right now, is reminding me of Michael in like 2003'. His fitness level is do high that he could produce really fast times with the high volume of training."
Marchand's coach Bowman on his performance
Bob Bowman is known for training many successful collegiate and professional swimmers, including the great Michael Phelps.
He specializes in training IMers, as seen with Regan Smith and Chase Kalisz. Bowman, continuing his monologue, said:
"I mean he is knd of firing on all cylinders. I'll give you an example, Monday afternoon we did 7500, it was a threshold set, very similar to the stuff we do all the time, and he was swimming quite well through it."
"The last 500 was supposed to be a red paced 500 right, threshold paced 500, and he was going so well I was like 'Hey why don't you just see what you can do on this thing, go for it'. He said okay ... 4:18 [time for last 500]."
Marchand won three medals at the World Championships last year: two golds in the 400 and 300 meter IMs and a silver in the 200 meter butterfly.
He is the current Championship and European record holder in the 400 IM and the national record holder in the other two races.
Bowman had this to say about his training:
"So when you do that kind of a thing in your normal training, you can probably put a suit on and do some pretty good times in a meet. It's a lot of different things. He's done some good work ... but that I thought was particularly good and I haven't seen anybody come close to doing something like that in practice and I've had a few good swimmers."
On Saturday, the Frenchman swam the 400 IM in a record time of 3:31.84 breaking the previous record set by University of California's Hugo Gonzales last year (3:32.88).
Marchand's coach concluded:
"That is what we saw leading up [to the NCAA Championships]. After his first day of racing, those times were so good ... He just got into a good rhythm, was feeling good, it was a good day, good energy ... It was a nice environment to do it. He told me after the race that he thought he was going slow. I don't know what that means, but I'll take it."