13TH ANNUAL NATIONAL GAMES OF CHINA
- Tianjin, China
- August 27th – September 8th
- SwimSwam Meet Preview
- Day 1 Recap
- Day 2 Recap
- Day 3 Recap
- Day 4 Recap
- Day 5 Recap
12-year-old Wang Yichun turned heads recently with a monster 58.44 100m butterfly performance while competing at the 13th Annual National Games of China in Tianjin. The swim was extra eye-popping when comparing the time to what other notable butterfliers produced at that same age, including former world record holder Dana Vollmer of the United States. Vollmer held a time of 1:02.49 in the event when she was 12 years old back in 2000. Yichun’s time is 4 seconds over that mark.
And the budding Chinese talent wasn’t finished, as Yichun also made a splash in the women’s 100m freestyle event on day 5. She finished 5th in her morning heat with a quick 56.24, only to drop that mark significantly during tonight’s semi-finals. The 12-year-old wound up with a super speedy mark of 55.60 to finish 6th in her semi-final. Although she didn’t fall within the top 8 for tomorrow night’s final, the pre-teen has made her mark within the event on an international level for her age.
For perspective, the top 3 American women all-time in the 11-12 100m freestyle sit over a second behind Yichun. Lia Neal tops the U.S. list with a mark of 56.87 in the 11-12 age group back in 2008, the same year in which Missy Franklin clocked a time of 57.26 to remain 2nd in the all-time stats. Grace Carlson was also under 58 in 2008 with a time of 57.97, all well off of the massive 55.60 produced by 12-year-old Yichun tonight.
Looking at other countries as we did with Yichun’s 100m fly mark, the Chinese talent’s 55.60 remains remarkable. The Dutch age record for 12-year-old girls stands at the 59.09 clocked by Olympian Marrit Steenbergen in 2012, while the Canadian record for the same age stands at the 58.04 notched by Shauna Collins way back in 1990 (!).
Britain’s Fran Halsall’s mark of 56.70 from when the now-retired Olympic finalist was 12 was closer, while I was able to find one swimmer with a time even faster than Yichun. Australia’s Yolane Kukla holds her nation’s age group record for girls’ 100m freestyle at 55.26, although the time is for a greater 13&U age group, set when the Commonwealth Games medalist was 13, not 12.