Marchand continues Olympic build-up with 100 fly win in California

general26 May 2024 02:40| © AFP
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Five-time world champion Leon Marchand of France continued his build-up to an expected star turn at the Paris Olympics with a 100m butterfly victory at the Speedo Grand Challenge meeting in California on Saturday.

The 22-year-old, who broke Michael Phelps's 400m individual medley world record last year, clocked 52.56sec to finish more than a second in front of American Billy Picht (53.71).

He claimed his third victory in two days at the meeting in Irvine, California, which comes little more than two weeks before the French Championships June 11-16.

Marchand completed an impressive double in the 200m medley and 100m breaststroke on Friday.

Marchand won the 200m medley in 1:55.74 – less than a second outside the European record he set in winning gold at the 2023 world championships in Fukuoka.

It was a strong showing less than 20 minutes after he won the breaststroke in 59.06sec.

Marchand, coming off a stellar US collegiate career under the guidance of former Phelps mentor Bob Bowman, will head to his home Olympics as the favourite in both medleys and the 200 butterfly, all three of which he won at last year's worlds.

He is scheduled to swim the 100m backstroke and 100m freestyle on Sunday.