French swimmer Léon Marchand, “he’s a fighter” and he can “go as far as he wants”says American swimmer Michael Phelps, the most successful athlete in the history of the Olympics. He was the guest of honor at the “Demain le sport” festival organized on Thursday September 22 by franceinfo, with France Télévisions and The teamat the House of Radio and Music. “Léon Marchand will have two years to prepare and swim in his native country, to have the opportunity to win an Olympic gold medal like this gives chills to think about”acknowledges Michael Phelps about Léon Marchand who caused a sensation during the 2022 World Cup in Budapest by winning the titles of the 200 and 400 m combined, as well as the silver medal in the 200 m butterfly.
franceinfo: The French swimmer Léon Marchand is based in the United States, one of his coaches is Bob Bowman, who was his. Have you already met him?
Michael Phelps: I never met him, but I talked to him a bit, we exchanged some messages. Sure he is a fighter, you put him in a race and he is going to win. He just has to find the means to get his hands on the wall before everyone else.
“Records are made to be broken, and I’m sure he will break records.”Michael Phelps
He has two years to be able to prepare and swim in his country of origin, in his native land. Getting the chance to win an Olympic gold medal like this gives me goosebumps to think about. It’s something I’ve never had the chance to do and I’m sure you’re looking forward to it.
Are you impressed by the success of your adaptation in the United States, as a young French?
Yes of course. That is to say, he has a good example in the person of his father who was a swimmer. I saw him with his father. So he has a good pedigree. He knows how to handle stressful situations. And I think he has adapted very well in the United States. The training pool in Baltimore is one of the best. The youngsters are really starting to hit their best. And again, I’m excited to see what he’s going to do. I think I could really push the limits.
How far can you go, Léon Marchand?
As far as he wants! If I had to be picky on one point, and I know that Bob [Bowman, ex-entraîneur de Michael Phelps et aujourd’hui celui de Léon Marchand] I would say the same, maybe, I think he needs to improve his back style. He is too slow. You can’t break the record in the medley if you miss one.
“He has to find a way to get down to one minute because his stroke is unbelievable. So I think if he wants to break the record, he has to swim faster on his backstroke, he has to do it with control.”Michael Phelps
Is Bob Bowman the right coach for Léon Marchand?
I think so. Obviously, he got great results from it. She managed to train him to achieve great results. I think Leon is ready to work. He is ready to swim, he is ready to prepare to be as good as he wants to be. So yeah, Bob is a great coach, obviously. I spent my entire career with him, so I won’t say anything else.