“Unreal” talent Leon Marchand on his “crazy” 400m IM record

Marchand wins gold at Budapest 2022 – Simone Castrovillari / LEN

The swimming community have paid glowing tributes to “unreal” and “special” talent Leon Marchand after the World champion swimmer set a new all-time NCAA record in the USA.

The 20-year-old Frenchman announced his arrival onto the senior international stage with 200m and 400m individual medley golds, as well as 200m butterfly silver, at Budapest 2022.

His latest achievement saw him set a new short course yards record of three minutes 31.84 seconds in the 400m IM while racing for Arizona State against defending NCAA Champions Cal.

It was over a second faster than the previous record holder Hugo Gonzalez (3:32.88) recorded at last year’s NCAA’s.

The 400m IM was Marchand’s fourth event of the meet after competing in the 100m and 200m breaststroke disciplines – which he also won – as well as the 4x50m medley relay.

“The 400m IM was crazy,” Marchand told the ‘Social Kick’ podcast after the race.

“I was just going for it, I didn’t think I was that fast during the race, but then I saw feet of swimmers in front of me (that he was nearly lapping) then I realised I must be going pretty fast.

“When I touched and saw I was like ‘oh my god’ and that was pretty cool.”

Footage of Marchand’s record-breaking race has spread across social media with many hailing his “unreal” and “special” talent, while one went as far as to state he is the “Kylian Mbappé of swimming.”

The Frenchman will be looking to defend his two individual medley titles at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, in June. He is then expected to challenge for maiden European short course honours at Bucharest 2023 in December.