2017 Nat’l Games Of China Day 2: Li Bingjie Blasts 4:01.74 400 Free


After a commanding win in the men’s 400m freestyle last night in Tianjin to kick-off his 2017 National Games of China campaign, Olympic champion Sun Yang was back in action today to contest the 200m free event. Establishing himself as the leader early with a field-leading 1:48.36 prelims swim, Yang upped the ante in the evening, clocking a mark of 1:47.84 to take the top seed.

The next-closest competitor was Ji Xinjie, the man who captured silver behind Yang in the 400m free on night one. In this 200m event, Xinjie registered a time of 1:48.58 to land the 2nd seed, with countryman Xu Qiheng knocking on his door with a time of 1:48.65. With reigning Olympic gold medalist and World champion Yang in the field, however, the 200m free is his race to lose tomorrow night.

The men’s 100m backstroke saw both prelim and semi heats transpire today, with Xu Jiayu making his presence known. After clocking a solid 55.31 in the morning, the national record holder earned a speedy 55.04 to establish himself as the 2nd seed behind Li Guangyan‘s time of 54.78, the only sub-55 second outing of the field. Jiayu made history in Budapest by becoming the first Chinese male swimmer to ever become World champion in the men’s 100m backstroke, so look for him to come on strong come tomorrow’s night’s final race.

The women also contested the 100m backstroke today in Tianjin, with China’s Olympic bronze medalist from Rio, Fu Yuanhuitaking the top seed. After touching in 1:00.63 in the morning, the national record holder maintained her position with a very similar time of 1:00.70 at night to be the one to beat in the event.

Olympic finalist Shi Jinglin was in the pool today as well, racing her specialty, the women’s 100m breaststroke. She leads the pack with the only sub-1:08 mark on the day, taking the pole position in 1:07.64. Most recently in Budapest, Jinglin managed to produce a quick 1:06.43 for 5th place, so look for the 24-year-old Jiangsu athlete to hack off even more time tomorrow night.

In terms of event finals, fireworks flew in the women’s 400m freestyle, where Li Bingjie fired off a monster time of 4:01.75 to take gold by almost 3 solid seconds, while also cranking out a new Chinese national record. This morning, Li produced a nice prelims swim of 4:08.15 to take lane 4, only to hack off just over 6 seconds to take things down to a new level of 4:01.75, the first time a Chinese woman has ever delved into sub-4:02 territory. The previous national record stood at 4:02.35 from Chen Qian from this same meet back in 2009.

Entering the meet, Li’s fastest effort was the 4:02.52 she collected at Chinese Spring Nationals, a time that was already within two tenths of the national record. She then earned bronze at the 2017 FINA World Championships behind gold medalist Katie Ledecky (USA) and silver medalist Leah Smith (USA), racing her way to a mark of 4:03.25. Her time tonight not only beats both of those efforts, but would have garnered bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games.

The other women’s final came in the form of the 100m butterfly, where Zhou Yilin took a hard-fought gold among a very tight field. With the top 5 seeds all entering tonight’s race with times within .7 seconds of one another, Yilin was able to rise above and charge to the wall first in 57.41. That was just .03 ahead of silver medalist tonight Zhang Yufei, who touched in 57.44 for the only other sub-58 outing of the pack. Bronze tonight went to Olympic finalist Lu Ying in 58.18 carrying outside smoke from lane 1.

For the men’s 100m breaststroke final, national record holder Yan Zibei got the job done in 59.23, a time slower than his semi-final last night. In that semi, Zibei registered the only sub-59 second mark of the evening in 58.97, a mark just .05 off of the national record he clocked in April of this year. However, his time today was still quick enough to hold off Tan Haiyan who cruised to a silver medal in 59.57.

Finally, the squad from Liao Yu Guangdong took the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay in 3:14.70, while Team Zhejiang & Hong Kong finished less than half a second behind in 3:15.09 for silver. Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei-Shanghai men were next in line for bronze in 3:18.25. Splits and relay swimmers were not available at time of publishing.

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3 years ago

relay splits:

Hou Yujie 49.01
Lin Yongqing 49.15
He Jianbin 48.33
Yu Hexin 48.21

Wang Shun 49.67
Kenneth To 48.53
Sun Yang 48.00
Xu Jiayu 48.89

Reply to  CQcumber
3 years ago

48 flat for Sun – he has got some speed !!!?

3 years ago

If Li improved her 400 free 1 sec a year, she will be 3:58 in 2020.
Enough to win gold?

Reply to  gigglewater
3 years ago

What are Li best on 200/1500 free?

She will probably go for Jr olympics next Year i would not be surprised by a sub-4 and 8:10 by them..

Reply to  Rafael
3 years ago

Her best in 200 and 1500?
We’ll find out later this meet. 🙂
When Ledecky was 3:59, her 800 was 8:13 I think.
It will be a surprise for me if Li went sub-4 and 8:10 next year.

Reply to  Rafael
3 years ago

Yeesh. Ledecky level time drops are inhuman. We can’t be applying those to any swimmer

Reply to  Rafael
3 years ago

Li Bingjie (50m):1:57.11 (relay:1:55.46), 8:15.46, I don’t know about 1500.

Reply to  Brownish
3 years ago

Li Bingjie

Reply to  gigglewater
3 years ago

Still think Ledecky will have dropped 1500 by then and be focusing on 400-800m. Will be close with li in 400 IF li can continue improvement

Reply to  Pvdh
3 years ago

No way Ledecky drops 1500 in 2020. She’s going to cement her legacy by being the first woman to win the 1500 at the Olympic games. I can see her dropping it after that though

Reply to  Pvdh
3 years ago

Are you kidding? For all intents and purposes, she’s THE single biggest reason the women’s 1500 was added. No way she drops it.

3 years ago

Interesting, Tan Haiyan’s time would have won him gold at the world juniors in the breaststroke…

Reply to  emg1986
3 years ago

To Chinese swimmers, National Games is more important than Jr Worlds. In fact, I don’t think China even sent a team to Indy, as the two meets are so close. No surprise to see some fast times by 18U Chinese swimmers that would medal or even win at the Jr Worlds.

3 years ago

China had a team in Indy

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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