Swimming

Leon Marchand Swims World-Leading 4:10.38 400 IM, But Gets DQ’d for Lochte Rule

2022 TYR PRO SWIM SERIES SAN ANTONIO

Men’s 400 IM

World Record: Michael Phelps (USA, 2008): 4:03.84
American Record: Michael Phelps (USA, 2008): 4:03.84
US Open Record: Michael Phelps (USA, 2008): 4:05.25
Junior World Record: Ilia Borodin (RUS, 2021): 4:11.17
Pro Swim Record: Chase Kalisz (USA, 2018): 4:08.92

Top 8:

Jay Litherland (DYNA-GA) – 4:19.63
Joaquin Gonzalez Pinero (UN-13-FL) – 4:21.79
Hector Ruvalcaba Cruz (AGS-GU) – 4:23.29
David Schlicht (SUN-AZ) – 4:23.59
Charlie Swanson (NOVA-VA) – 4:25.32
Mikey Calvillo (IU-IN) – 4:25.54
Matheo Mateos (AZFL-FG) – 4:27.97
Leon Marchand (UN-AZ) – DQ

Coming off an incredible freshman season at ASU, French Olympian Leon Marchand swam a 4:10.38 in tonight’s final of the 400 IM, however, he was disqualified. The time would have been the fastest in the world, coming in well under the current top mark of 2022: Tomoru Honda‘s 4:10.75 from earlier this month.

MEN’S 400 IM – TOP 5 TIMES OF 2022

RANK
TIME
SWIMMER
MEET
DATE

1
4:10.75
Tomoru Honda (JPN)
Japan Selection Trial for 19th FINA World Championships
3/2/22

2
4:10.82
Daiya Seto (JPN)
Japan Selection Trial for 19th FINA World Championships
3/2/22

3
4:11.75
Kaito Tabuchi (JPN)
Japan Selection Trial for 19th FINA World Championships
3/2/22

4
4:12.19
Yuki Ikari (JPN)
Japan Selection Trial for 19th FINA World Championships
3/2/22

5
4:14.38
Genki Terakado (JPN)
Japan Selection Trial for 19th FINA World Championships
3/2/22

Marchand was DQ’d on the controversial “Lochte Rule”. If you need a refresher, the ‘Lochte Rule’ is an unpopular rule FINA put in place for IM races, named after Ryan Lochte. The rule states that underwater dolphin kicks performed on the back are classified as backstroke, meaning that kicking underwater on the back during the freestyle portion of an IM is illegal. Per FINA rules, exactly 1/4 of an IM race must be done in each stroke, therefore “swimming backstroke” by doing underwater kicks on the back results in disqualification.

FINA has taken steps to soften the rule after it received a largely negative response from the swimming community, however, it’s clearly still resulting in disqualifications.

Nonetheless, Marchand’s time of 4:10.38 lands very close to his personal best of 4:09.65, which he swam last summer. He was excellent on the back half of the race tonight, splitting 1:09.30 on breaststroke and 58.69 on freestyle, even though he was “swimming backstroke” for a portion of the free leg.

Notably, this meet is Marchand’s “exception” meet to qualify for France’s World Championships team. France’s qualifying meets for this summer’s international teams were the Golden Tour 1 and Golden Tour 2 meets, plus French Nationals, which take place next week. Marchand is one of 3 exceptions (Max Berg, Tommylee Camblong) who was allowed an alternative qualifying meet.

Scratch that, Marchand is qualified for France’s World Champs team, for now. Performance as the Tokyo Olympics are included in France’s selection criteria. The qualifying meets this year take precedence, however, which means that if another French swimmer hits the qualifying time next week at French Nationals, Marchand will lose his spot.

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