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

13TH ANNUAL NATIONAL GAMES OF CHINA

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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aquajosh
5 years ago

Li Bingjie looks like a 15 year old, is not afraid to attack races as she showed in Budapest, and like her compatriot Ai Yanhan, has beautiful technique. Her progress has been steady and consistent. There’s no reason to believe she is doping.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  aquajosh
5 years ago

she looks very legit to me too . Talented with a very nice stroke .

Anonymous
5 years ago

Hope she continues to improve, she and Leah could push each other under 4 and Ledecky could have some challengers and she always swims well when challenged. Worried she may follow the Chinese trend of phenomenal as a junior but unable to match as she gets older but hoping she can at least improve through 2020.

Vladislav22
5 years ago

Why are chinese so good at distance free? Its quite a spectacle.

CQcumber
Reply to  Vladislav22
5 years ago

The same with Italians.

O_O
Reply to  Vladislav22
5 years ago

Why are so many of their swimmers so good at big meets in China, but not major international competitions?

612
Reply to  O_O
5 years ago

There must be something in the water

Carlo
Reply to  O_O
5 years ago

Didn’t li bingjie perform well in Budapest?

VARKI
Reply to  Carlo
5 years ago

two silver and one bronze medals in Budapest

O_O
Reply to  Carlo
5 years ago

She did well, 4:03 for bronze. 2 second drop in a month though?

Rafael
Reply to  O_O
5 years ago

And Silver on 800

Ex Quaker
Reply to  O_O
5 years ago

Carson Foster is the same age and did that in the 200 back- a much shorter event.

SchoolingFTW
Reply to  O_O
5 years ago

She had previous PB of 4:02

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  Carlo
5 years ago

1.55.7 split on the 800 free relay

G.I.N.A
Reply to  O_O
5 years ago

This comp decides the funding for the various sports & centres . Its their pathway .

GCoach
Reply to  O_O
5 years ago

Because winning a medal at these Games is not just a medal, its a life-changing event for them: financially, culturally, and social status…

O_O
Reply to  GCoach
5 years ago

I obviously don’t understand, but why wouldn’t a world championship performance have done the same thing?

GCoach
Reply to  O_O
5 years ago

Because winning in China in front of your peers is 1000 more important than at Worlds. You’d have to live here (I live in China) long enough to really understand the culture and the values they place on “face” and success in their home country…

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  GCoach
5 years ago

Many havent got the memo yet – i got it . I understand the degree of importance it has for them , not for other nations necessarily .

aquajosh
5 years ago

If she also drops time in the 800, she’s going to be the first real challenger to Ledecky. She’ll be sub 8:10 by Tokyo.

Carlo
Reply to  aquajosh
5 years ago

Yeah I don’t know if her turns have improved but if she has improved her turns off the wall then going a sub 8:10 is not out of the question. She has a pb of 8:15 now so taking half a second off the walls off each turn could mean hacking off over 5 or 6 seconds off her pb to bring her to a time of at least 8:09.

Carlo
Reply to  Carlo
5 years ago

Bad calculation on my part. Hacking off half a second off each turn on the walls is an 8 second drop in the 800 free. So that means an 8:07 for her in theory, based on her 8:15 pb.
Unlikely at the moment. But if her turns have improved. Who knows what could happen.

Caleb
Reply to  Carlo
5 years ago

why stop there, if she can speed up each turn by a second she could break 8:00.

coachymccoachface
Reply to  Caleb
5 years ago

If she just turns at the flags every time she’ll cut even more time.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  coachymccoachface
5 years ago

lol?

Carlo
Reply to  Caleb
5 years ago

Are you talking about ledecky?
Breaking 8 minutes ?

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  Carlo
5 years ago

Nope , about LI

emg1986
5 years ago

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

NEWTOSWIMSWAM
Reply to  emg1986
5 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.

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  NEWTOSWIMSWAM
5 years ago

China had a team in Indy

gigglewater
5 years ago

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

Rafael
Reply to  gigglewater
5 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..

gigglewater
Reply to  Rafael
5 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.

Pvdh
Reply to  Rafael
5 years ago

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

Brownish
Reply to  Rafael
5 years ago

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

Khan
Reply to  Brownish
5 years ago

Li Bingjie

Pvdh
Reply to  gigglewater
5 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

CheddaShredda
Reply to  Pvdh
5 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

GARYP
Reply to  Pvdh
5 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.

CQcumber
5 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

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  CQcumber
5 years ago

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

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Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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