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
- Day 6 Recap
- Day 7 Recap
The final night of racing in Tianjin saw the women’s 50m freestyle, men’s 1500m freestyle and men’s/women’s 4x100m medley relay events transpire to close out this year’s National Games of China. Taking place just once every 4 years and covered heavily by Chinese media, these Games are taken very seriously by the host nation’s constituency, so much so that some swimmers target this event over the World Championships when they occur in the same year.
21-year-old Liu Xiang made the most of her appearance tonight, taking the gold in the women’s splash n’ dash by well over half a second. Last night Liu made history by clocking a semi time of 24.04, crushing the Chinese national and Asian continental 50m freestyle record of 24.51 set by Le Jingyi way back in 1994. Liu was just .03 above that mark tonight, with her 24.07 now ranking as the 2nd fastest time ever for a Chinese female swimmer.
Taking silver in the race was Zhu Menghui, the other swimmer who contested this event at the 2017 World Championships alongside Liu. Tonight Zhu touched the wall in a time of 24.81, just over a tenth slower than her mark of 24.68 from Budapest.
Zhang Yufei was the bronze medalist tonight in a time of 24.89, while 4th place finisher, Wu Qingfeng, also clocked a sub-25 second outing with her time of 24.89.
Megastar Sun Yang collected yet another win here in Tianjin, taking 1500m freestyle gold tonight in a time of 15:05.18. Tonight’s win adds to the 25-year-old’s National Games individual event hardware haul from this year that includes gold in the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle events from earlier in the meet.
For Sun, he’s been hot and cold with the 1500m free event as of late. He was an unexpected no-show in the final at the 2015 World Championships, finished 16th in the prelims at Rio, and opted out of the event entirely in Budapest this past summer, leading many to think the star was done with the event as part of his repertoire.
Tonight, Sun was able to win the event in a time of 15:05.18, less than a second ahead of runner-up Ji Xinjie. Both times rank well outside the world’s top 25 outings from this season, however.
Finally, the women’s Beijing Zhejiang squad won the 4x100m medley relay in a time of 3:55.78, while the men’s foursome from Zhejiang took their version of the same relay in 3:33.12. Splits were not available at time of initial publishing.