At the 2023 Men’s NCAA Championship, Leon Marchand continued his dominance. After breaking the 400 IM and 200 Breast NCAA records earlier this season, we knew it was a matter of time before we broke the 200 IM record that he set in 2022. Using the FINA point projection system, this swim was the highest of the men’s meet with 1041 points (barely edging his 400 IM swim at 1040 points). In this post, I’ll analyze the 200 yard IM race and provide theoretical areas of improvement for Leon Marchand’s 1:36.34 200 yard IM NCAA Record.
For those who haven’t followed one of our analyses, these analyses are for fun and to spark debate. There are some inherent flaws in this race analysis:
- Videos are taken from YouTube videos (often with subpar angles)
- There are analyzed with Kinovea
Watch 200 Yard IM Men’s NCAA Record – 1:36.34 Leon Marchand
200 Yard IM Men’s NCAA Record Analysis
First 15 Meters
Entering at 3.3 meters on the start, Leon breaks out at 4.88 seconds, takes one stroke and hits the 15-m mark at 5.57 seconds. His velocity was 2.69 m/s, 0.30 m/s faster than Kate Douglass during her magnificent 200 yard IM NCAA Record for women.
16.40 Yards (15-meters) – 25 Yards
Marchand took 4 strokes over this distance at a velocity of ~2.12 m/s.
First 25 Yards Analysis
Marchand took 5 total strokes for the lap, touching the wall in 9.62 seconds. He had a distance per stroke of 2.15 meters per stroke and a stroke rate of 0.95 seconds per second
25 Yards – 41.40 Yards
Marchand broke the surface near 13 meters in 6.33 seconds. He took 1 stroke to the 15-meter mark and cross the mark in 7.19 seconds. His velocity was 2.09 m/s over this distance.
41.40 Yards – 50 Yards
He took 4 strokes over the last 8.6 yards and had a velocity of 2.01 m/s.
Second 25 Yards Analysis
Marchand took 5 strokes over this lap and completed this lap in 11.47 seconds. He had a distance per stroke of 2.15 meters per stroke and a stroke rate of 1.03 seconds per stroke.
Leon touched the first 50 in 21.09 seconds.
50 Yards – 66.4 Yards
Marchand broke the surface at 14.75 meters in 7.04 seconds and broke the 15-m mark in 7.11 seconds. He took 0 strokes at a velocity of 2.11 m/s over this distance.
66.4 Yards – 75 Yards
Into the turn, Marchand took 7 strokes. He had a velocity of 1.83 m/s into the turn.
Third 25 Yards Analysis
Splitting 11.81 seconds on the third 25, Leon had a stroke rate of 0.68 seconds per stroke and a distance per stroke of 1.23 meters per stroke.
75 Yards – 91.4 Yards
Breaking the surface at 14.5 meters, Leon surfaced in 6.3 seconds and broke the 15-m mark at 6.5 seconds. She took 0 strokes over this distance. He had a velocity of 2.31 m/s.
91.4 Yards – 100 Yards
Into the wall, he takes 7 strokes. His velocity over this distance was 1.83 m/s.
Fourth 25 Yards Analysis
Marchand completed the second backstroke lap in 11.17. He had a stroke rate of 0.70 seconds per stroke and a distance per stroke of 1.23 meters per stroke over the last 8.6 yards.
His time on the backstroke leg was 22.98, as he touched the 100 yard mark at 44.07 seconds.
100 Yards – 116.4 Yards
With a breakout of ~10 meters, Leon surfaced in 5.96 seconds and took 2 strokes to the 15-m mark which he crossed at 8.69 seconds.
116.4 Yards – 125 Yards
He took 3 more strokes into the wall, with a velocity of 1.85 m/s.
Fifth 25 Yards Analysis
Splitting 13.53 seconds, his distance per stroke was 2.87 meters/stroke with a stroke rate of 1.51 seconds per stroke.
125 Yards – 141.4 Yards
Surfacing at 10 meters, Leon surfaces at 6.47 seconds and takes 3 strokes to the 15-m mark in 9.10 seconds. His velocity over this distance was 1.65 m/s.
141.4 Yards – 150 Yards
Taking 3 strokes into the turn, he completed the last 8.6 seconds in 5.03 seconds.
Sixth 25 Yards Analysis
Leon split 14.13 seconds and had a distance per stroke of 2.87 meters per stroke. He stroke rate was 1.53 seconds per stroke.
Over these 50 yards, Leon split 27.66.
150 Yards – 166.4 Yards
Marchand surfaces in 11 meters in 6.11 seconds. He took 3 strokes and completed this 15-m in 8.29 seconds.
166.4 Yards – 175 Yards
With 5 strokes into the wall, Leon’s velocity is 1.81 m/s.
Seventh 25 Yards Analysis
Marchand splits 13.00 seconds. His stroke length was 1.72 meters per stroke and her stroke rate was 0.86 seconds per stroke.
175 Yards – 181.4 Yards
Surfacing at 11 meters in 5.77 seconds, Leon takes 7 strokes and splits 7.43 seconds.
181.4 Yards – 200 Yards
With 6 strokes into the wall, Douglass closed in 2.06 m/s.
Eighth 25 Yards Analysis
Douglass split 11.61 on the last lap with eight total strokes, a distance per stroke of 1.43 meters per stroke and a stroke rate of 0.73 seconds per stroke.
He split 24.61 seconds over this lap, touching in 1:36.34.
200 Yard IM NCAA Record Analysis
In one of the most anticipated races at NCAA’s, Leon Marchand demolished his previous record, making the other swimmers (even Destin Lasco who broke the American Record appear pedestrian).
Theoretical Improvements for Marchand’s 200 Yard IM NCAA Record
There is room to improve for every swimmer. Here are the notable improvements from Leon Marchand’s 200 IM NCAA Record:
- After seeing Leon’s amazing backstroke turns and dolphin kicks, I am surprised he didn’t go 15-m on his start and butterfly turn. Maximizing this distance would improve his velocity and time for fly, but possibly reduce his fatigue in his freestyle leg. Improving this could improve his time by 0.05 – 0.15 seconds.
- The only other possible area of improvement for Marchand is his last 50 freestyle leg. As he mentioned in post race interviews, he was taking it ’50 by 50′ implying he was going fast for every 50. However, perhaps this strategy resulted in a significant impairment on his freestyle leg. Therefore, perhaps going out 0.1 – 0.2 seconds slower on his back and fly 50s could result in a 0.8 – 1.0 second faster freestyle leg (which he has gone 23.78 seconds in his freestyle leg at 2023 Pac-12 Championships). If he can adjust his race strategy slightly, he would improve 0.4 – 0.6 seconds.
With these improvements, she can improve another 0.45 – 0.75 seconds.
There are likely more technical improvements with his swimming stroke, but the video from the race is not close enough or provides underwater angles for a full assessment.