The French swimming prodigy Léon Marchand struck a blow on Sunday one year from the Olympic Games, erasing from the shelves the record of the legendary Michael Phelps, to retain his title of world champion in the 400 m medley in Fukuoka (Japan) “It's excellent, I train every day for that. There I break my time by two seconds, I make the record so it's great, ”he added after setting a stratospheric time of 4 min 2 sec 50/100, one second and three tenths less than the time of American legend Michael Phelps.
Marchand improved his own mark by two seconds and swept the last individual world record still in force from Phelps, present in Fukuoka for American television. "It was crazy! The weather is crazy!” he savored before receiving his gold medal, precisely from the hands of Phelps, the man with 23 Olympic titles with whom he shares the same coach, the American Bob Bowman.
A few moments before, he had met his other coach, the Frenchman Nicolas Castel, at the edge of the pool, who advised him to "enjoy". "We must not get bored of these moments, these are moments that are rare," he said.
"Michael Phelps is the greatest swimmer of all time so obviously it's quite special," said the young Frenchman with a smile. "I felt so good that I really wanted to push the time to the maximum and above all, I still had some legs left to finish," said the Frenchman.
Marchand brought France its first medal at these World Championships. In Fukuoka, he will also be looking to retain his 200m medley title and go one better than last year's silver in the 200m butterfly. He might even be able to line up in the 200m breaststroke if his coaches allow him to add a race to his already busy schedule.