Leon Marchand Moves to Fourth All-Time in 400 IM at NC State Invite; Several Other Nation-Leading Times

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Leon Marchand -- Photo Courtesy: KMSP/Stéphane Kempinaire

Leon Marchand Moves to Fourth All-Time in 400 IM at NC State Invite; Several Other Nation-Leading Times

For Leon Marchand, his first campaign with the Arizona State swimming program has been impressive, and that trend continued Friday as he won the 400 IM by five seconds, swam the nation’s top time so far this season and moved to fourth all-time in the event. Meanwhile, fellow Sun Devil Grant House posted the nation’s top time in the men’s 200 free, and several other stars posted really quick performances in their respective events.

After an impressive 200 IM one day earlier, Marchand got the men’s racing on the night started when he swam a 3:35.62 in the 400 IM. That beat the field by five seconds, with ASU teammate David Schlicht taking second in 3:40.60 and NC State’s Mikey Moore placing third in 3:43.85. Marchand’s time ranks him behind only Chase KaliszCarson Foster and Abrahm DeVine in the all-time rankings, and it is much faster than the 3:36.90 that Bobby Finke swam to win last year’s NCAA title.

We’ll see if Foster can respond to that effort when his Texas Longhorns race at the Minnesota Invite in two weeks, but Marchand, who placed sixth in the 400-meter IM at the Tokyo Olympics, looks like a significant challenger for the NCAA title in this event.

In the very next event, Stanford’s Torri Huske swam a 50.30 in the women’s 100 fly. Huske owns a lifetime best of 49.70 that ranks seventh all-time, and she is likely to be in contention for the NCAA title in this event alongside defending champion and 100-meter fly Olympic gold medalist Maggie MacNeil and 2021 NCAA runner-up Kate Douglass. Huske’s time ranked as the country’s fastest for about 10 minutes before Tennessee freshman Ellen Walshe put up a 50.24 at the Tennessee Invitational in Knoxville.

In the 100 fly in Greensboro, NC State’s Kylee Alons took second in 51.64, and third went to North Carolina’s Ellie Vannote in 52.52.

Meanwhile, ASU’s House made a huge statement in the men’s 200 free as he won the event in 1:31.80 — and not long after that, he led off the Sun Devils’ 800 free relay in 1:31.73. The time moves the Cincinnati-native into the all-time top 25 in the event and leaves him just 0.02 off Cameron Craig’s ASU school record of 1:31.73. Only three swimmers (Kieran SmithDrew Kibler and Trenton Julian) beat that time at last year’s NCAA Championships, and House has some momentum after a strong summer saw him finish 11th in the 200-meter free at U.S. Olympic Trials.

House won the 200 free by almost three seconds, with Stanford’s Ron Polonsky (1:34.29) and ASU’s Carter Swift (1:34.43) coming in behind him.

NC State’s Sophie Hansson won the 100 breast in 57.51, just three tenths off her lifetime best of 57.23 that she swam to win the NCAA title last season. Hansson is currently tied for third all-time in the event with Breeja Larson, with only Lilly King and Molly Hannis ahead of her. And Hansson led a Wolfpack 1-2-3 finish here with Andrea Podmanikova (58.06) and Heather MacCausland (59.27) coming in behind her.

As she finished, Hansson’s time was tops in the country, but Tennessee’s Mona McSharry swam 0.05 faster in Knoxville later in the evening to steal away the No. 1 position.

In the women’s 100 back, Stanford freshman Regan Smith became the first swimmer in college swimming to dip under 50 seconds this season. Smith, the Olympic bronze medalist in the 100-meter back and a former world-record holder in that event, swam a 49.97. Smith is the American-record holder in the yards version of the event with her 49.16 set last March, but in a college setting, she still has a bit to go to catch Ally Howe’s school record of 49.69, set at the 2017 Pac-12 Championships when she took down a 15-year-old record belonging to Natalie Coughlin.

The only swimmer in college swimming today who has surpassed that effort from Smith is NC State’s Katharine Berkoff, last year’s NCAA titlist in 49.74, and Berkoff finished second behind Smith here with a 50.45. Stanford’s Lucie Nordmann took third in 52.25.

NC State’s women opened the session with a dominant effort in the women’s 200 medley relay. Katharine Berkoff (23.52), Hansson (25.96), Alons (22.98) and MacCausland combined for a 1:34.31. The Wolfpack foursome swam just a second off the winning time at last year’s NCAAs (by NC State), and that time would have beaten all but two teams. Stanford finished second with Regan Smith (23.74), Zoe Bartel (28.06), Huske (22.63) and Taylor Ruck (21.77) combining for a 1:36.20. Stanford was competitive on three of the four strokes, but it was Hansson’s dominant breaststroke leg that proved to be a decisive edge. Duke placed third in 1:37.43.

The men’s 200 medley relay also went to the Wolfpack, this time by just a half-second over Arizona State (1:23.40 to 1:23.98). NC State’s team included Kacper Stokowski (21.34), Rafal Kusto (23.68), Nyls Korstanje (19.69) and Noah Henderson (18.69), while the Sun Devils swam Jack Dolan (21.34), John Heaphy (23.84), Cody Bybee (20.15) and House (18.65). NC State’s B-team grabbed third in 1:25.20.

In the women’s 400 IM, Stanford fifth-year swimmer and reigning NCAA champion Brooke Forde swam a 4:03.72 to win by more than five seconds. Forde won last year’s title in 4:01.57, and she ranks ninth all-time in the event with a best time of 3:59.26. NC State’s Grace Sheble took second in 4:08.91, and Duke’s Sarah Foley claimed third in 4:09.97.

The men’s 100 fly saw Stanford’s Andrei Minakov race to a 44.78 in the 100 fly. Minakov, the silver medalist in the 100-meter fly at the 2019 World Championships now in his first season with the Cardinal, would already have qualified for the A-final at last year’s NCAA Championships with that time, while ASU’s Bybeeedged out NC State’s Luke Miller for second, 45.51 to 45.59.

ASU picked up another win in the women’s 200 free. Following her impressive 500 free triumph Wednesday, Emma Nordin swam a 1:43.76 to easily beat out Stanford’s Ruck by seven tenths. Ruck swam a 1:44.53, and another Sun Devil swimmer, Erica Laning, took third in 1:45.57.

The win in the men’s 100 back went to Stanford’s Leon MacAlister in 46.15, just ahead of NC State’s Izzo (46.32). Aiden Hayes, the Swimming World Male High School Swimmer of the Year, took third for NC State in 46.85.

Stanford’s women ended the evening with a dominant 800 free relay victory, finishing almost seven seconds ahead of NC State in 6:56.99. Huske (1:42.59), Smith (1:44.95), Lillie Nordmann (1:45.56) and Forde (1:43.89) swam for the Cardinal, with Huske’s leadoff leg making her the country’s quickest 200 freestyler so far this season. NC State was second in 7:03.72, and Arizona State finished third in 7:08.03.

In the men’s 800 free relay, ASU won in 6:10.86 with House (1:31.73), Carter Swift (1:34.02), Julian Hill (1:32.70) and Marchand (1:32.41). NC State took second in 6:13.95, while third-place Stanford was almost six seconds back (6:19.83).

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