Marchand ‘can handle Paris Olympics pressure’

Marchand ‘can handle Paris Olympics pressure’

Marchand ‘can handle Paris Olympics pressure’

Legendary swimming coach Bob Bowman said Sunday that he believes Leon Marchand can handle the pressure at next year's Paris Olympics after "a very good rehearsal" at the world championships.

French sensation Marchand has been one of the stars of the competition this week in Fukuoka, claiming three gold medals and breaking Michael Phelps's long-standing 400m individual medley world record.

Bowman mentored Phelps to unprecedented Olympic success and he now coaches Marchand at Arizona State in the U.S.

Marchand will face huge expectations at the Paris Games but Bowman said the 21-year-old "got better when the pressure was highest" this week in Japan.

"That's something Michael always did, that's what the great ones do," said Bowman, who is serving as head coach of the U.S. team in Fukuoka.

"When the pressure is on, they rise to meet it."

Bowman said Marchand shares the same "mindset" as Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time with a staggering 28 medals.

"That's something that Leon had to improve on to get to this level, so it's very good to see him develop into that kind of character," said Bowman.

Marchand broke Phelps's 400m IM record by more than a second on the competition's opening night, coming home in a time of 4min, 02.50sec.

Marchand followed that up by winning the 200m butterfly and 200m IM titles.

Bowman said it "remains to be seen" what the Frenchman can achieve at the Paris Olympics.