We were waiting for Léon Marchand to open the medal counter for the tricolor contingent, but certainly not in this way! Author of a stratospheric race, the Toulousain won gold in the 400m medley at the Budapest World Championships, with a broken French record (4’04”28). After a perfect and controlled race, Marchand finished ahead of the Americans Carson Foster, silver medalist (4’06”56), and Chase Kalisz, bronze medalist (4’07”47). At only 20 years old, Marchand is already familiar with the summits.
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The playoff warning wasn’t really one. Best time of the morning (4’09”09, French record), Léon Marchand did not expect to swim so fast, too fast even for his trainer Bob Bowman, who had recommended slower times. It must be said that at only 20 years old, and despite a reputation as a meticulous worker, passion can sometimes take precedence over intentions. The good news is that Marchand was able to win lane number 4, housed in the middle of the familiar builds of Chase Kalisz (Olympic champion in Tokyo) and Carson Foster. The latter was also playing his first long-course world final.
Record of France, Europe and Championships
After an ideal action, Marchand, recognizable by his white cap, tumbled into the first corner in second position, only outpaced by the surprising Tomoru Honda (Japan). As expected, the resident of the University of Phoenix (Arizona) had more difficulty on the back part, but the progress observed this year has enabled the Toulousain to keep up with Foster’s hellish pace. The new nugget of tricolor swimming was then able to count on an exceptional casting, reminiscent of a certain Michael Phelps, former protege of Bob Bowman.
Untouchable on the breaststroke, Marchand flew to the world title, still more than a second ahead of Phelps’ world record 100m from the finish! A last round trip in freestyle and the Frenchman was able to take advantage, looking almost dazed at his titanic performance. The world record shook (4’03”84) and, in the meantime, Marchand could be satisfied with a record for France, Europe and the Championships.
Léon joined at the same time Xavier, the father, who was the last French medalist in the discipline, in 1998, on the lower distance (200 m medley). The son, for his part, is laying the groundwork for a career that is supposed to propel him towards the status of superstar in his sport, as many observers across the Atlantic have been predicting for a few months. It is clear that Léon Marchand did not prove them wrong.
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