2017 Natl Games Of China: Sun Yang, Ning Zetao, Li Bingjie Come Up Big


The action continued in Tianjin tonight, with 2015 World Champion Ning Zetao making his National Games mark in the pool. Kept off the Chinese roster for Budapest, Zetao has been relatively quiet since Rio. He made noise in his home nation tonight, however, cranking out the fastest 100m freestyle time of the field. After clocking a solid opener of 49.44 in this morning’s prelim, Zetao produced a quick 48.11 to hold the pole position by more than a second over the next-closest competitor, Yu Hexin and his time of 49.32.

Zetao’s 100m free mark of 48.11 tonight would have tied both GBR’s Duncan Scott and Brazil’s Marcelo Chierghini for 5th place in Budapest this summer. We’ll see what the national record holder has in store come the final tomorrow night.

The women’s 200m butterfly contingent was also in the water today, contesting both prelims and semi-finals. Leading through both is Zhou Yilinthe highest placing Chinese swimmer at the 2017 World Championships. Clocking 2:11.52 in the morning, followed by a super speedy 2:08.42, Yilin holds about a half a second lead over the rest of the field. The next closest swimmer is Li Shuang who also touched under 2:10 with a semi time of 2:09.08, with Zhang Yifan and Zhang Yufei both right behind in times of 2:09.14 and 2:09.72, respectively. 

Both Yilin and Yufei have a history of finaling in this event for the Chinese, with the pair finishing a respective 5th and 6th in Rio. Both women were also a part of the women’s 200m fly in Budapest, with Yufei taking the upper hand in a 5th place finish in 2:07.06 to Yilin’s 8th place time of 2:07.67.

Yan Zibei, the men’s 100m breaststroke winner here clinched a double in the discipline, taking the 200m event easily tonight in a time of 2:09.56. The 50/100 national record holder was the only swimmer under the 2:10 mark and the 21-year-old is now within a second of the Chinese NR in this event, which stands at the 2:08.71 set just this past April by Qin Haiyang. For Zibei, today’s performance marks the first time the World championships relay medalist has dipped under the 2:10 threshold.

The women saw 2 freestyle finals on the night’s session, first in the form of the 200m. Zhang Yuhan was able to step up from her 2nd seeded position after semi’s with a gold medal-winning effort of 1:56.43 tonight. That was enough to hold off Liu Zixuan who fired off a 1:57.01 from lane 1 to claim the silver. Controversial swimmer Qiu Yuhan held the top seed after semi’s with a quick 1:56.60, but was only able to muster a time of 1:57.99 tonight to wind up 6th and well-off the podium.

Newly-minted national record holder in the 400m freestyle, Le Bingjie, made the 200m freestyle final, but opted out to focus on the 1500m event that also fell during tonight’s racing. The strategy paid off, as the 15-year-old cranked out her 2nd national record, touching in 15:52.87 to win the event handily.

The previous national record stood at 15:58.02 set by Li Xuanxu at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai. For perspective, Bingjie’s sub-15:55 outing tonight would have earned bronze at the World Championships this past summer behind America’s Katie Ledecky and Spain’s Mireia Belmonte.

Ye Shiwen, double IM champion at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, looked much better in this 200m IM than the 400m IM from day 1, as the 21-year-old was able to claim her first gold in Tianjin. Stopping the clock in 2:10.91, Shiwen was able to beat out the competition by well over a second, while earning a time on her own personal top 10 list.

In the 400m IM earlier in the meet, Shiwen showed promise by establishing herself as the top seed in the morning in a time of 4:41.63, only to drop to 6th in that night’s final, mustering just a 4:46.94.

Also racing tonight, fly maestro Li Zhuhao clocked a 200m butterfly time of 1:55.95 for gold, while 200m and 400m freestyle champion, Sun Yang, took the top seed in the men’s 800m free with a time of 7:59.43.

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Li said in an interview that she will surpass Ledecky soon, and will eradicate her WR in Tokyo.

stanford fan

hopefully that will motivate ledecky even more…


That’s a little over the top


How? People have goals.


I feel like saying with certainty that she will soon pass someone who is 3 seconds(?) ahead in the 200, 5 in the 400, 11 in the 800, and 27 in the 1500 is over the top and maybe a tad arrogant. It’s a good goal but saying with certainty she will pass her soon and eradicate her records is a little much. She could start by becoming second faster performer in history in each event.


nah Li wants to surpass Ledecky as soon as possible. that’s why she did 200-1500 at age 15 (ledecky did not), but she dropped 200 final last night cause of 1500. either way, you can tell she’s ambitious and will do anything to pass ledecky before Tokyo. i’m sure her parents(both happened to be distance swimmers), trainer , and chinese media influenced her as well.


it’s a goal. but you dont say it as if you are superior.


i know, and Li repeats that after every race.


That’s sounds like brainwashing or indoctrination. I wouldn’t doubt that someone “suggested” to her to say that.

Maybe she’ll say that to Katie herself at the next WCs. Wouldn’t that be interesting.


Li said she will learn english so she can communicate with ledecky. and the first thing she will say to her is “i will beat you”

i’m a ledecky chinese fan and i can’t even stand it LOL


Lol what ? Really ?
Ledecky can use that for some motivation.


I’ve never heard Li saying that. I think Ann was just faking her “Chinese” identity. Li expressed that Ledecky is her goal and she wanted to surpass her one day. The journalists only mentioned Ledecky on the first day of the game. The communication later mainly focuses on Li’s preparation for the various events and how her coach helped her.


went back and reviewed it. If you read enough of her articles and interviews. she did use the word “for sure” “most definitely” “will” a lot of times. those words are in definite terms. please don’t attempt to diminish her meanings. It’s a great ambition for sure, and she got great confidence! And please, she did mention Ledecky way more than once, and it all started in WC.


It sounds like some nuances were lost in translation.


Only thing she will eradicate is her common sense.


Can a Moderator delete my previous comment? I shouldn’t have just looked at
the secondary Chinese new resources, and “eradicate” is a interpretation on my part. I also noticed it is the media
that keep bringing up the topic after races, so you can’t really blame the girl.




China has so many peoples it’s like their top people are always changing except in freestyle on the men’s side


Yes kots of people but so few pools


Like I said a few days ago. I think Ye Shiwen should stick to 200 IM, breast and back. Her 200s still aren’t too bad. She should just throw out the 400 and focus on 200s.


As soon as China gets another swimmer that can beat her in the IM, she’ll be gone from the scene.

She hasn’t won a medal at Olympics or WCs since 2012.

IMs for days

Her rise and fall was pretty quick, but it wasn’t like she came out of nowhere in 2012. She went a 2:09 200IM and a 4:33 400IM in 2010, became the 200IM world champ in 2011, then had that double gold in 2012 with that infamous 400IM. She had a bad 2013 but in 2014 had a decent asain games with a 4:32 400im and a 2:08 200IM. From there though, its all bad. That being said, Ye was obviously talented, but her technique was never that great and her insane times felt more like a second coming of the 1994 chinese then a legitamate preformances. China is also known to have problems with doping, alot of which has been… Read more »


I think Ye downfall was more due to getting older (Someone posted she gained near 8kg since 2012) due to Maturity and seems some injuries too.. Some Girls tend to suffer a lot as they get older if they can´t adapt to body changes on swimming

Drama King

What happened to Ruta was the same. I guess .
And i think it will affect the Ledecky too.
We might not see her breaking world records again .

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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