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ASU men's swim team prepares to compete in NCAA Championships

Fifteen swimmers will compete in the NCAA Championships after winning ASU's first-ever Pac-12 title

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ASU sophomore Léon Marchand celebrates winning the 400 yard individual medley at Mona Plummer Aquatic Complex on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022 in Tempe. ASU's men's team beat Wisconsin 183-112.

Fifteen members of the number-one-ranked ASU swim team, coming off of their historic Pac-12 title, will be back in action Wednesday at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in Minneapolis.

Cody Bybee, Alex Colson, Jack Dolan, Andrew Gray, Julian Hill, Grant House, Hubert Kos, Jonny Kulow, Léon Marchand, Daniel Matheson, Max McCusker, Owen McDonald, Patrick Sammon, Zalan Sarkany, and David Schlicht will represent the Sun Devils on the national stage after winning the program’s first-ever conference title in Washington earlier this month.

The men's championships follows the women's NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships meet that took place this past weekend. The ASU women's team finished 27th in the final standings.

Marchand, a sophomore from France on the men's team, took home three conference titles, participated in four winning relays and was also named Swimmer of the Meet for the second year in a row. During the Pac-12 Championships, he set two new NCAA records. He broke the 200 breast record (1:47.67) and the 400 IM record (3:31.57). 

READ MORE: Olympic sports roundup: Léon Marchand breaks NCAA record for 400 individual medley 

Marchand said that it’s been a bit of a tight turnaround for the team to switch gears and look ahead to nationals. While the team has had three weeks between the Pac-12 Championships and NCAA Championships, the mental aspect of going from celebrating a historic win to going back into a competitive mindset has kept the team hard at work.

“It’s difficult to do because we left a lot of energy during the meeting. It was very intense,” Marchand said at a press conference on March 7. “We want to try and enjoy it too because we won the Pac-12s, so it’s good for the team. But we got to go back to train. Today was pretty hard for our training, but we got to focus on the next step, NCAAs.”

Sarkany, a freshman from Budapest who won the 1650-meter freestyle with a record time of 14:41.65 at the Pac-12 Championships, said his aspirations of being a championship-winning swimmer are now a reality.

“It’s pretty much a dream come true because I never expected to attend university in the states,” he said after winning the 1650-meter freestyle race. “I can swim every day and race with these guys at ASU … the whole new lifestyle is a big change, but I love it, and I can’t wait to experience it more in the future.”

Head coach Bob Bowman said that adding Sarkany has bolstered the team’s performance in distance events.

READ MORE: ASU swim coach Bob Bowman may be face of program, but his assistants keep it afloat 

“Zalan’s (Sarkany) been important for us because we wanted to strengthen our distance swimming,” Bowman said in a press conference on March 7. 

When Sarkany became available, coach Bowman shared that he knew he would significantly impact the team's overall performance.

"He just did a great job under some pressure to perform.”

Bowman attributes the team’s success to the constant work they’ve put in throughout the season and their appreciation for the learning and growth that takes place as they compete.

“Our philosophy … is very simple: the process is more important than the outcome,” Bowman said. “We have another mantra that we use. It’s ‘do your work.’ We’re not fancy. We love each other and do our work every day. If you do that day in and day out over time, you can build something really substantial, so I couldn’t be prouder of these guys and how hard they worked to get here.”

Bowman had to develop an ethos of winning within the program, a process that took place over a few years as new talent emerged. Those that worked in tandem with the program's philosophy thrived. The gradual progress was boosted when the program found the missing pieces of the puzzle.

“We had to build a culture, we had to build a high-performance culture, and that took a lot of time because we had to bring in not only the people who do that,” Bowman said in a press conference on March 7. “We had some people filter out as we moved along, and each year it just got better and better. Then, once we got Léon (Marchand) last year, where our talent level jumped, all the pieces are in place.”

ASU is the first team that is not from California to win the Pac-12 Men's Swimming and Diving Championships title. 

“It makes me feel awesome. I did not know that,” Bowman said. “It is a privilege to race the teams in this conference, particularly (Cal), which is a model of excellence and class.”

Cal had taken home the Pac-12 title for the past five years in a row.

With the team's historic outing in Federal Way, Washington behind them and the NCAA Championships on deck, coach Bowman believes his team is set to succeed.

“(We’re) trying to get mentally ready,” Bowman said. “The physical stuff is done. We want to give them more of a sharpening period and see how it goes. I’m excited about it.”

The NCAA Championships will start on Wednesday at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis with coverage on ESPN+.

Edited by Walker Smith, Jasmine Kabiri and Grace Copperthite.

Reach the reporter at and follow @EddieMabanglo on Twitter. 

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Eddie Mabanglo

Sports reporter

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