2017 Nat’l Games of China Day 1: Sun Yang Snaps 3:41.94 400 Free

13th Annual National Games of China

The 13th Annual National Games of China, or China’s ‘mini-Olympics’ as they are sometimes referred to, kicked off in Tianjin with an artistic Opening Ceremony on Sunday, August 27th. The largest edition of this competition to date is expected to  draw 12,721 athletes across 33 sports, spanning 38 delegations. The participating entities include all of China’s provinces, municipalities, autonomous regions, the Hong Kong and Macao, People’s Liberation Army and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, among several others.

Held every 4 years, the National Games include disciplines from weightlifting to shooting, from track and field to swimming, collectively offering 341 events through its conclusion on September 8th.

Swimming events began today with some of the nation’s biggest stars already hitting the pool. Olympic champion Sun Yang, Rio bronze medalist Wang Shun and former 400 IM world record holder Ye Shiwen made their marks early in the competition, setting the stage for their domestic competitors.

After establishing himself as the expected early leader in the men’s 400m freestyle prelims, clocking a time of 3:48.12, Sun Yang blasted an evening mark of 3:41.94 to easily claim gold. His time crushed the competition, with the next-closest competitor in Ji Xinjie registering a time of 3:47.52 for silver.

Sun Yang’s time of 3:41.94 checks in as the 5th fastest of the 25-year-old’s prolific career. The sub-3:42 outing is within rage of Sun’s 3:41.38 gold medal-winning time from the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, as well as the 3:41.68 that resulted in silver for the Chinese swimmer at the 2016 Olympic Games. In fact, Sun’s time tonight falls within the top 21 performances of all-time in the event.

Next, Olympic bronze medalist in the 200 IM, Wang Shun, established himself as a force early on in the meet as well, dominating the men’s 400m IM final. Clocking a time of 4:12.59, Shun won by 3 seconds to register the best time of his career. His performance tonight crushed the 4:14.46 produced in Rio, as well as the 4:20.01 he earned to finish 20th in the event in Budapest.

Former Chinese and World Junior record holder Wang Lizhuo was also in the water today competing in the men’s prelims and semi-finals of the 100m breaststroke. The People’s Liberation Army athlete opened the event this morning with a time of 1:00.78, then clocked a time of 59.98 to earn the 2nd seed headed into tomorrow night’s final.

Ahead of Lizhuo is the current national record holder in the event, Yan Zibei, who cruised to the only sub-minute swim of prelims with a time of 59.49, only to then register the only sub-59 second mark of the evening in 58.97. Zibei’s personal best and Chinese NR sits at the 58.92 clocked in April of this year, so the 21-year-old Olympian is already within a tenth of that mark with the final yet to come.

The women’s individual events included the 100m butterfly and 400m IM, with the latter’s final taking place this evening. After taking the top seed this morning in a time of 4:41.63, 2012 400m IM Olympic champion Ye Shiwen wound up placing 6th overall in tonight’s final, only able to muster a time of 4:46.94.

On top of the women’s 400m IM tonight was Zhou Min, who touched the wall in 4:40.75 over Xu Danlu, who settled for silver in 4:42.53. Bronze tonight went to Wang Xinya in her time of 4:43.40. For Zhou Min, tonight’s outing represents a personal best, overtaking the 4:42.15 she collected while competing at the Dave McCullah Memorial Meet in Ireland back in March 2016.

The women’s 100m butterfly is proving to be a dogfight, with the top 5 seeds all sitting within .7 of a second of one another. Zhang Yufei led both prelims and semi-finals, registering respective times of 58.72 and 58.23. That places the World Championships finalist just under two tenths ahead of Wang Yichen, who holds a 2nd seeded time of 58.40 headed into tomorrow night’s main event.

The 4th place finisher in this event in Rio, Lu Ying, sneaked into the final with the 7th seeded time of 59.19.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

6 Comment threads
16 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
14 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

I thought Ye Shiwen was retiring ?

expert coach

retiring? she’s like 12 years old


4.46 when she’s been a 4.28… are you sure she hasn’t?!


She retired from the drugs.. I don’t see why she still swims the 400 IM she hasn’t been anywhere near that time. She should focus on 2back or breast and the Im


She’s just like Peaty, Sjostrom, Hosszu, Ledecky, Dressel, Franklin, Phelps… any dominant swimmer, really. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt until there’s evidence that she doped. Beyond that, I haven’t really heard any talk about Akihiro Yamaguchi being a doper, even though he dropped 4 seconds in a year in the 200 breast like 2 months after the Olympics, broke a world record, and then never approached that time again. I don’t think he was doping, I think the sudden notoriety and pressure got to him and killed his passion for the sport, but that would be more suspicious to me than a swimmer who had the fastest 200 IM of 2010 winning a gold medal in 2012.… Read more »


It was sarcasm and I agree.


Ah, right on. Sorry for the misunderstanding!


Yamaguchi has been plagued with injuries from what I understand


Maybe she just stopped caring as much after winning Olympics Gold. That’s the peak for most swimmers.


IMO, the 5 second add from prelims is more interesting than the time, itself. 4:41 is still way off, sure, but not really a shock considering her slide the past few years. Adding 5 seconds later that day, though, is a bit more of a surprise.


I saw the same thing happen last week where someone swam significantly slower in an evening IM event at it was attributed to not swimming down after a race.


lol Michael Andrew

Coach mary

Michael swam the brstk very close to the IM. There is no comparison. The rest of the meet he swam WR and near identical times… over and over. Give the kid a break!!!!


Don’t say give him a break he’s a pro swimmer and 50s aren’t Olympic events yet (besides free) and he has improved in that but not enough to make olympics. he needs to work on the free at the end of IM to have any sort of chance.


go china!


Agree with Sven on doping allegations. IMO, she simply peaked after London. A big factor, as reported in Chinese & other media: she could not overcome the physical changes from a girl to womanhood, plus untimely injuries. I believe this is also a contributing factor to Missy’s (under)performances in recent years. Too bad ladies have to go through this process and some just simply can’t overcome it.


I love numbers and numbers don’t lie: 2012 5’8″ 132lbs; now 5’8″ 155lbs.


Bigger than Floyd.

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 …

Read More »