Leon Marchand makes his final plans

Edwin  - CEO February 23, 2024
Updated 2024/02/24 at 2:03 AM
8 Min Read
French swimming superstar Leon Marchand- (2023 Getty Images) Photo credit: olympics.com/en
French swimming superstar Leon Marchand- (2023 Getty Images) Photo credit: olympics.com/en

Ahead of home Games for Paris 2024: “I will be ready”



Paris’s world champion swimmer and medal contender revealed his goals and preparation plans just a few months ahead of the Games. He remains in the U.S. under the watchful eye of veteran coach Bob Bowman, olympics.com/en reports.


He’ll be one of the headliners at the Olympic Summer Games Paris 2024.


At 21, French swimmer Leon Marchand is the world record holder in the 400m individual medley (IM) but will attempt to win his first Olympic medals in Paris.


“I’m lucky to have this opportunity in France to swim in front of the French fans,” Marchand told reporters Friday (23 March) at a press conference.


After an outstanding World Aquatics Championships 2023, with three gold medals in three individual races and a world record, the Toulouse native said this when asked if he had improved since Worlds just a few months ago: “Yes, I’ve improved.”


Marchand, on moving to the U.S., worked with a mental coach.


At Tokyo 2020 in 2021, Marchand finished sixth in the 400m IM, his specialty. The finish made him “very confident for the next future because I was only a few seconds from the best in the world.”


In September of 2021, Marchand switched to work with legendary coach Bob Bowman, the former mentor of swimming legend Michael Phelps.


“You know, going to the U.S. and training with Coach Bowman was a huge step for me,” revealed the 21-year-old Frenchman.


At the Worlds in 2023, Marchand shined, winning the three world above titles and beating Phelps’ 15-year-old record in the 400 medley. But there’s still room for improvement for the Frenchman despite his brilliant performances.


“I think the races I did at Worlds weren’t perfect,” he said. “There were quite a few things I thought I could improve, and I did. I’ve focused on the crawl over the last two months. I’m taking in more water and trying to swim continuously; my restarts and my turns are better.


“We’ve made much progress with my coach, and I think I’m better than before.”


Marchand has also made progress outside the pool. Faced with growing popularity and media pressure present ahead of a home Olympic Games, the Frenchman is leaving nothing to chance, preparing himself mentally, too.


“I’ve been working with a mental coach for two years now called Thomas Sammut, who used to work with Florent Manaudou,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of progress in the last two years.


“This year, the main focus is Paris 2024, with managing the pressure, the media, the expectation of course, all the people around. It’s pretty intense. I’m learning to deal with all that and I’m feeling better and better. I will be ready.”

“I’m lucky to swim in front of the French fans”


A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the five-time world champion is looking forward to competing in his native nation’s Olympic Games.


“It’s going to be very well organized and a lot of fun. All the world’s best swimmers will be competing at the same time. I hope the French will be there [to support].”


But Marchand has not yet secured his quota for Paris. He will try to do just that at the French Swimming Championships in Chartres (16-21 June).


“Right now, the plan is the Pac-12 [Championships] in two weeks, after the NCAA Championships at the end of March,which is the main objective for the start of the year,” said Marchand, who will then turn his focus to studies for semester exams. “We’re off to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado [in May] for a month’s training camp at altitude, and after that I’m back in France for the French championships in mid-June and then the Olympic Games. I’ll be in France for my final preparation.”


Marchand’s preparation in U.S. with Bob Bowman




Marchand is spending a large part of his Olympic preparation at Arizona State University, where he is part of a larger program led by Bowman.


“You know, Coach Bowman has already been to the Olympics seven times,” he said. “So I think he knows how to do it. He certainly has a lot of advice to give. He’s very calm and he knows how to handle it all. I’m just trusting him.”


Bowman is pleased with the progress they’ve achieved together in the two and a half years of working together.


“Every year, I’ve had the pleasure of watching him grow as a man, as an athlete,” Bowman said. “And he’s very serious about swimming, obviously. So that’s never been a problem. And he’s learned to deal with things outside the pool that, you know, everybody has to do when you go to university. So it’s kind of a natural progression.”


But how do you combine student life with preparation for the Olympic Games?


“I think all student athletes are pretty busy,” Marchand said. “I want to say, just bouncing between classes, being four hours in the water every day. It’s pretty hard. But this year, I have less classes. I wanted to have more time for myself, for the Olympic year. And I can’t really do anything because I’m really tired all the time. Because of Coach Bowman. But, I usually just watch a show (Peaky Blinders), like, listen to music, play video games, just hang out with my friends. But, we don’t have that much time honestly.”


Bowman wants to prepare his athlete as well as possible for the Olympic Games, while giving him maximum freedom and responsibility.


“I’m a lot more relaxed and not so, control freak like I used to be,” Bowman said. “I kind of learned over time that, you know, certain things are going to happen whether I worry about them or not. My goal is to have these guys not depend on me. They need to be able to stand on their own two feet, make some decisions, solve problems, and be able to operate in the Olympic environment as an independent entity.”


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