2017 Nat’l Games Of China: Ning Zetao Goes Sub-48


On the men’s side of the competition in Tianjin tonight, big stars Sun Yang and Ning Zetao were both back in the pool in the hunt for National Games titles.

For Sun Yang, the 25-year-old easily clinched the men’s 800m freestyle gold in a time of 7:46.80, winning by almost 6 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Tonight’s top prize goes along with the Olympic champion’s 400m and 200m freestyle gold medals already earned in Tianjin individually. Yang will try to make it a complete freestyle sweep of the events in which he’s entered individually once he competes in the 1500m freestyle event on the final night of competition.

After establishing himself as the man to beat after both prelims and semi’s yesterday, Ning Zetao made good on his hints of speed, collecting gold in the men’s 100m free tonight in a wicked-fast time of 47.92. That time equals what Cameron McEvoy of Australia produced in Budapest for 4th place in the event and clobbers the 48.37 Zetao himself mustered in Rio that left him well out of the semi-finals.

Tonight’s outing marks just the 3rd time 24-year-old national record holder has dipped under the 48-second threshold including his 2015 World Championsips title time of 47.65. Zetao was unable to compete in Budapest after having been left off of the Chinese national roster due to sponsorship and team commitment violations. Zetao will also take on the men’s 50m freestyle event, which kicks off tomorrow in Tianjin.

The women’s 200m butterfly saw its final 8 women compete for the podium tonight, with Zhang Yufei getting the edge on the field in a final time of 2:06.17. That was enough of an effort to take gold ahead of Zhou Yilin, who touched just .12 behind for silver. It was a two-woman race, as the bronze went to Li Shuang who touched 3 seconds later in 2:09.31, just off her semi time last night of 2:09.08.

Yufei was China’s highest-finisher in this women’s 200m fly event in Budapest, touching in 2:07.06 for 5th, while Yilin finished in 8th with a time of 2:07.67. As such, both women dipped well beneath their 2017 World Championships time en route to a tough battle for gold and silver tonight.

As a refresher, the women’s 200 fly Chinese national and world record is the seemingly untouchable time of 2:01.81 set by Liu Zige in the supersuit era at this same meet back in 2009.

Qin Haiyang managed to crank out a new World Junior Record en route to gold in the men’s 200m breaststroke final tonight, producing a new mark of 2:07.35. That surpassed his own previous record of 2:08.71 established earlier this year at the Chinese National Championships, a time which also stood as the Chinese national record. His time would have earned him a bronze medal in Budapest, where he was only able to throw down a slower time of 2:10.14 in semi’s.

The Liberation Army swimmer won the race tonight by over a second ahead of Yan Zibei, the men’s 100m breaststroke gold medalist here, who finished in a still-speedy 2:08.75 for silver in a personal best by a over a second. Li Xiang touched in 2:10.67 to claim bronze out of lane 7 tonight.

On the semi-final spectrum tonight, women’s 200m breaststroke bronze medalist Shi Jinglin is in the mix with her semi outing of 2:27.02, while Wang Shun sits atop the men’s 200m IM field with a semi time of 2:01.04. No one in the men’s 200m backstroke was able to venture into sub-2-minute territory, as 100m backstroke victor Xu Jiayu holds the top seed in 2:00.00.

The women’s 100m freestyle semi-final, however, saw 4 women clock 54-second times, led by Zhu Menghui who earned a time tonight of 54.36. Right behind her is Wang Jing in 54.58, Li Zhesi in 54.83 and Wu Qingfeng in 54.85. Of these finalists for tomorrow, Menghui may have an edge after having semi-finaled in the event in Budapest. She clocked a mark of 53.85 to finish 11th at the World Championships, so she has proven speed to perhaps take things to another level during the final.

Of note, 12-year-old standout , Wang Yichun, who clocked an eye-popping 100m butterfly time of 58.44 earlier in this meet, was impressive again in the women’s 100m freestyle prelim this morning. The youngster notched a time of 56.24, a mark which would sit atop the list of fastest-ever American 11-12 year-olds.

Yichun then took that mark down even further during the semi-finals where she finished in a swift 55.60.

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Must have had some…. determination for that!


Wow. I wonder why so many Chinese swimmers go considerably faster at the National Games than at worlds. Less pressure?


That is it….less pressure!


Ning during Rio apparently clashed with the Chinese goverment and they cut his training and housing/food funding for training. I remember watching an interview of him at the aftermath of Rio and he was really depressed and was considering quitting swimming altogether.

I’m typically a cynical person and i don’t like siding with any country who has had past allegations of problems, but i wish for the sake of an argument people actually researched instead of jumping the gun. A lot of the information spread, especially on swimswam, tends to be ad hominums and plain rumors.


I remember that interview too.


totally true .


For most of Chineses swimmers, the national game meet is the most important meet in their career, only Olympic Game is comparable.


Yea…that’s it. Less pressure. Definitely


Winning the Chinese national games pays generously, much more generously than the world championships. Only the Olympics really compares in the glory and revenue. Thus, for many swimmers that don’t have a chance to win both meets, world champs aren’t as big of a deal. Government pays well and sets you up well if you win the nat games.

Well at least that’s what a friend who swam on China’s national team said to me after he predicted in February that the national games would be faster for all the Chinese swimmers except the one’s that have a chance to win events.

Swimming there

Winners at these games get a net value of about 100,000RMB from what I heard. I dont know if this is accurate. I do know that this year, swimmers and coaches are getting the same rewards so that might play a role.


Also, Shen Duo was 31st this morning in the 100 free with a 57.10. Last year I believe she went 53s, and I know she went 1:55 in the 200 a few times last year. At nationals she was only 1:56.79 and here she was only 1:57.8. Really wonder what could’ve happened to her so quickly.


Ran out of drugs. They started giving hers to the 12 year old ??


In fact that so called “12 year” girl at least 16 year old,this is her photo with Lu Ying:

and Xinxin:

so she is only changed age from 16 to 12


Having developed and coached her as a 12 year old, I can say this is absolutely not true. She went through the Chinese system of getting terrible Chinese coaches, one particularly ruined her psychologically…


Because of the coach issue



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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