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ASU men's swim and dive wins first NCAA title in team history

Sun Devils break 9 school and 3 NCAA records over the course of 4-day competition


Male swimmers cheer in lanes in a pool

Members of the ASU men’s swim and dive team cheer at the NCAA championship at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis on March 29. The team would go on to win the first NCAA title in program history. Photo by Mia Jones/Sun Devil Athletics

April 01, 2024

Talk about making a splash.

The Arizona State University men’s swim and dive team won the NCAA championship this weekend — for the first time in program history — but that wasn’t all. The Sun Devils broke nine school records and three NCAA records over the course of the four-day competition in Indianapolis.

One victorious showing — the 400 freestyle relay of junior Léon Marchand, graduate student Jack Dolan, junior Patrick Sammon and sophomore Jonny Kulow with a time of 2:43.40 — not only set a new NCAA record but clinched the team win.

“It’s amazing,” Marchand said of winning the team title. “When I called the coaches before coming to the U.S., they were seventh, or unranked, and they were like, ‘It’s possible. If we build the team, we can do it in a few years.’ And I really trusted them from the beginning, and now we did it. So, I’m really happy with it, really proud of the coaches, all my teammates and everything.”

The final team standings had ASU resoundingly in first with 523.5 points, followed by California (444.5), Florida (378), Indiana (376) and North Carolina State (318). In addition, 14 Sun Devils received All-American honors at the meet.

An infographic showing the records and titles of the ASU men's swim team at the recent NCAA championship
Infographic by Alex Cabrera/ASU

Marchand, expected by many to compete at the Paris Olympics in his home country this summer, was no stranger to setting records at the NCAA championship. On Thursday, he won the 500 freestyle in 4:02:31, breaking the NCAA mark he’d set just a few weeks prior.

ASU records set in Indianapolis

  • 50 freestyle: Jack Dolan (18.59).
  • 100 freestyle: Léon Marchand (40.28).
  • 200 freestyle: Marchand (1:29.87).
  • 500 freestyle: Marchand (4:02.31, NCAA record).
  • 200 freestyle relay: Dolan, Ilya Kharun, Cam Peel, Jonny Kulow (1:13.59).
  • 400 freestyle relay: Marchand, Dolan, Patrick Sammon, Kulow (2:43.40, NCAA record).
  • 800 freestyle relay: Marchand, Hubert Kós, Sammon, Julian Hill (6:04.95).
  • 100 butterfly: Kharun, 44.26.
  • 400 medley relay: Kós, Marchand, Kharun, Kulow (2:57.32, NCAA record).

“Tonight I had no limits from the very beginning,” he said on Thursday. “I didn’t have a base in my mind — I was just like, ‘Let’s see how far and how fast I can go,’ and it worked pretty well.”

Two days later, Marchand — whom many have compared to swim superstar Michael Phelps — won the title for the 200 breaststroke for the third year in a row; his time of 1:46:35 broke the NCAA record he set at last year’s championships. With that win, he now leads all Sun Devils ever with eight individual titles, breaking the record set by track and field champ Jacquelyn Johnson when she won her seventh national title in 2008.

It was a team effort in Indianapolis, with the following Sun Devils winning national titles:

  • 400 freestyle relay: Léon Marchand, Jack Dolan, Patrick Sammon, Jonny Kulow.
  • 200 butterfly: Ilya Kharun.
  • 200 breaststroke: Marchand.
  • 1650 freestyle: Zalan Sarkany (the first Sun Devil to win the national title in this discipline; he finished more than five seconds ahead of the second-place swimmer).
  • 400 medley relay: Hubert Kós, Marchand, Kharun, Kulow.
  • 400 individual relay: Marchand.
  • 500 freestyle: Marchand.

The national title wasn’t the only swim news making headlines.

On Monday, the team announced that ASU alum Herbie Behm would be taking over the helm for ASU swim and dive, after Coach Bob Bowman made the decision to move to the University of Texas. Behm swam for ASU from 2010–13 and was part of the quartet that set the school record in the 400 medly relay. Previously named associate head coach at ASU in April 2022, Behm brings a data-based coaching philosophy and has been instrumental in the development of Sun Devil sprinters.

This weekend’s national title capped off a month of stellar performances for Sun Devil Athletics, as men’s wrestling also celebrated success at the NCAA championships. No. 8 seed 125-pounder Richard Figueroa defeated No. 3 seed Drake Ayala of Iowa by a 7-2 decision in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 23 — ASU’s first individual national title in five years and the 13th in team history — as the Sun Devils placed in the top 6 as a team.

And earlier this school year, the ASU triathlon team won its seventh national title after winning the Women's Collegiate Triathlon National Championships in November in Tempe, joining a proud tradition of national team titles across a range of sports at ASU, including 25 NCAA championships and 148 national team titles.

Marchand said being on a team like ASU’s has had an impact on him and his swimming.

“I’ve never been very social, but since I came here three years ago, I think that really changed a lot,” he said. “Also, the leadership aspect — I know people are watching me. They also learn from me, and I love giving advice, helping them every day. And we all do that; it’s not just me. That’s how we push together every day in practice.

“It’s been great; I’m learning a lot from it. I think it will help me in my life, not just from swimming — just the way we worked really hard the past three years. Always showing up, always doing the work, always supporting your teammates. Even when it’s really hard sometimes. I’m learning a lot.” 

Sun Devil Athletics contributed to this article.

Sun Devil men’s swim and dive 2024 All-Americans

  • Alex Colson: 200 fly (second team).
  • Jack Dolan: 50 free, 100 free, 200 medley relay, 200 free relay, 400 free relay, 100 back (second team).
  • Julian Hill: 800 freestyle relay, 200 free (second team).
  • Ilya Kharun: 200 medley relay, 200 free relay, 100 fly, 200 fly, 400 medley relay, 50 free (second team).
  • Hubert Kós: 200 IM, 100 back, 200 back, 800 free relay, 400 medley relay.
  • Jonny Kulow: 50 free, 200 medley relay, 200 free relay, 400 medley relay, 400 free relay, 100 free (second team).
  • Léon Marchand: 500 free, 400 IM,  200 breast, 200 medley relay, 800 free relay, 400 medley relay, 400 free relay.
  • Cale Martter: 400 IM (second team), 200 breast (second team).
  • Daniel Matheson: 500 free (second team), 400 IM (second team), 1650 free (second team).
  • Owen McDonald: 200 IM, 100 back, 200 back.
  • Cam Peel: 200 free relay.
  • Patrick Sammon: 800 free relay, 400 free relay, 200 free (second team).
  • Zalan Sarkany: 1650 free, 500 free (second team).
  • David Schlicht: 200 IM, 400 IM, 200 breast.

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