At the Dona Arena, only one swimmer had the honor of holding a press conference on Saturday evening. “Hero of the day,” the organizers explained. A gold medal around his neck on a big podium, 20-year-old Leon Marchand still struggles to measure his phenomenal performance…
How did you feel when you touched the edge of the pool in your head?
Leon Marchand. I knew I was ahead but I didn’t think I’d make 4′04′’28 (Only Phelps did better than him, in 2008, at 4′03′’84). Here, I look ahead and see a little light that indicates I’m the first. It’s a really huge feeling, it’s a sister feeling, I still don’t realize what I did. But I loved him and that’s the main thing.
What do you think is the craziest?
Everything is crazy! It’s more of an overview that comes to my head. I’ve been working hard for this for five years and now it’s come true. Mentally, I’ve improved a lot, physically too. It was still a world final, I was in the fourth line (person assigned to the best time in the series) I was able to manage the stress well and free myself properly. I’m learning a lot and I’m excited for what’s to come.
How did you manage the day after your morning French log (4′09′’09)?
I tried to think of something else. Still swimming, you have to stay a little further away, or else I’ll go in my head like a watermelon. (Smiles.) Besides, I had the best time, so it wasn’t easy. But now I can handle it better. I was glad to be in this position, it allows me to really enjoy the moment. Upon my arrival, I set aside five seconds of morning time. I fish a little in front of the crawl for the record, but next time it might.
What is the Bowman effect?
Bob creates an environment for me, every day in training, which allows me to work hard and improve at the same time. For me, all training is fun. I don’t do long stretches and I feel more efficient at what I do. With the competitions approaching, he brings me a lot of serenity, he has a very meticulous plan, he adapts according to my fatigue, my desires, he is perfect.
What does this nickname symbolize when his mother, father, and uncle bathed in the four strokes?
It means a lot, because my mum and dad always gave me a lot of advice. After that, it’s another era, so in terms of time, it’s not the same. The 400 meter medley is a good type of swimming and I think today I know how to do a little bit of everything. I’m swimming at 4-4, for the second time in history, I’m so glad they came to see me with a part of my family, it’s great.
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