at the age of 20, the Frenchman Léon Marchand crowned world champion in the 400 meter medley

at the age of 20, the Frenchman Léon Marchand crowned world champion in the 400 meter medley

Budapest brings him luck. In July 2019, Léon Marchand won the bronze medal in the 400 meter medley at the world junior championships in the Hungarian capital. Saturday June 18, it is the world gold and the European record (4’04″28) that the Toulousain offered himself, always on the same distance but among the seniors this time.

After achieving the best time in the series in the morning – and beating his own French record in 4’09″09 -, the swimmer of just 20 years old crushed the final in the evening. In contact at the end of the butterfly passage, Léon Marchand held the distance in the backstroke – his weakest swim -, in particular thanks to in a huge cast, against the American Carson Foster.In breaststroke, the Frenchman accelerated to clearly take the lead before letting go of the horses and slamming a final ultra-fast crawl pass.

With a 400m medley completed in 4’04″28, the great hope of French swimming set a new European record, erasing Hungarian Laszlo Cseh from the shelves, and leaving his competitors more than two seconds behind. “I’m surprised by the time and then I won, I’m world champion, it’s huge”, reacted the medalist coming out of the water, still amazed at his performance. “I managed to really have fun, especially on the crawl, it was really fun.” Léon Marchand beat Americans Carson Foster (4’06″56) and Chase Kalisz (4’07″47).

Very quickly, the licensee of the Dolphins of the TOEC could have in the viewfinder the world record of the American legend Michael Phelps (4’03 “84), which is only four tenths of his time of the day. Léon Marchand has also been training since last summer at the American University of Arizona State, under the orders of Bob Bowman, who had led Michael Phelps to the heights.

The American coach, who is part of the French coaching staff at his Worlds, explained before the competition that his student had progressed on several levels during his year in the United States. “We have continued to improve his swimming. He has improved a lot in his strokes and undulations under water. He has also started to train more intensely, so he is stronger and has gained muscle this year, which is an important part of its evolution.”

After his sixth place at the Tokyo Olympics, Léon Marchand perfectly met the expectations that weighed on his shoulders since his brilliant performances in the American university championship, where he had among other things broken the record for the 200 m yards medley, previously held by Caeleb Dressel.

With this medal, Léon Marchand joins his father Xavier, who until Saturday was the only French medalist in the medley in the long pool – he had won silver in the 200m medley in 1998 in Perth (Australia). And opens the counter of the medals of the France team.

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