2018 Asian Games: Day 1 Finals Live Recap


The 2018 Asian Games kicked off this morning in Jakarta, and swimmers are now gearing up for the first finals session of the Games. Tonight. we’ll see them compete for medals in the men’s 200 free, 100 back, and 200 fly, as well as the women’s 1500 free, 200 back, 100 breast, and 400 free relay.


  1. GOLD: Wang Jianjiahe, CHN, 15:53.68
  2. SILVER: Li Bingjie, CHN, 15:53.80
  3. BRONZE: Waka Kobori, JPN, 16:18.31

China’s Wang Jianjiahe led teammate Li Bingjie by a few seconds to set the pace, but it ended up being a very close finish. Bingjie made a big push on the last 100, closing the gap by nearly 2.5 seconds, but she came up just short as Jianjiahe touched in 15:53.68. That topped Bingjie (15:53.80) by a tenth. They were well ahead of the rest of the field as Japan’s Waka Kobori (16:18.31) was about 25 seconds back to take bronze.

Jiajiahe’s time was about half a second shy of her season best from Chinese Nationals. She’s the 3rd fastest swimmer in the world this year. Bingjie cut almost 5 seconds from her Chinese Nationals performance to move from 6th to 4th in the world rankings.


  1. GOLD: Sun Yang, CHN, 1:45.43
  2. SILVER: Katsuhiro Matsumoto, JPN, 1:46.50
  3. BRONZE: Ji Xinjie, CHN, 1:46.68

Japan’s Naito Ehara (1:47.66) set the pace up front as he flipped in 51.58, but Sun Yang took off on the 3rd 50 to lead the pack. Sun was dominant on the back half to win by over a second in 1:45.43, earning his first ever Asian Games gold in this event after taking silver in 2010 and 2014. That was Sun’s first sub-1:46 of the year and lands him 3rd in the world rankings.

Japan’s Katsuhiro Matsumoto (1:46.50) and China’s Ji Xinjie (1:46.68) were neck-and-neck into the finish in the battle for silver, with Matsumoto slightly outpacing Xinjie on the back half to clip him at the touch. Jordan’s Khader Baqlah, an SEC champion for the Florida Gators, was a tenth shy of the podium in 1:46.77.


  1. GOLD: Liu Yaxin, China, 2:07.65
  2. SILVER: Natsumi Sakai, Japan, 2:08.13
  3. BRONZE: Peng Xuwei, China, 2:09.14

The defending Asian Games champion Akase Sayaka, still only 23-years old, was left off the podium, shut out by the Chinese pair and her countrymate Natsumi Sakai, in the women’s 20 backstroke final.

19-year old Liu Yaxin won the race in 2:07.65, using a strong back-half to run from 4th to 1st on the 3rd 50 meters. Her splits were 1:03.41/1:04.24, as compared to Natsumi Sakai, who led at the halfway mark but faded to silver (1:02.45/1:05.68).

15-year old Peng Xuwei placed 3rd in 2:09.14 for China, followed by Sayaka in 4th in 2:10.35.

South Korea’s Dasol Im was 5th in 2:13.66. That’s an add of more-than-a-second from the prelims time that had her ranked 3rd after Sunday morning.


  1. GOLD: Xu Jiayu, China, 52.34 (AG =)
  2. SILVER: Ryosuke Irie, Japan, 52.53
  3. BRONZE: Juho Lee, South Korea, 54.52

28-year old Japanese swimmer Ryosuke Irie opened in exactly the same split that he used en route to the 2014 title in the men’s 100 backstroke, but he didn’t have quite enough to run-down the fast-starting Xu Jiayu and claim a 3rd-straight title.

Instead, Xu used a nearly-half-second advantage at the turn to win his first-ever individual Asian Games title in 52.34. That swim tied the Asian Games record that Irie set when he won the 2014 title.

Japan, for just the second time since the first Asian Games in 1951 (where they didn’t compete), failed to put two swimmers on the men’s 100 backstroke podium, with the other occasion coming in 1998, where they had no medals in the event. It wasn’t China, however, that locked them out. There was a huge gap between Irie for silver and the rest of the field, but South Korea’s Juho Lee was the best of the bunch, taking bronze in 54.52. Japan’s Masaki Kaneko was 3rd in 54.61. Kaneko was about three-tenths better at Pan Pacs a week ago.

China’s Li Guangyuan was 5th in 55.01 followed by Vietnam’s Paul Nguyen in 6th at 55.72. Li added seven-tenths of a second from his prelims swim.


  1. GOLD: Satomi Suzuki, Japan, 1:06.40 (AG Record)
  2. SILVER: Reona Aoki, Japan, 1:06.45
  3. BRONZE: Shi Jinglin, China, 1:07.36

The Japanese duo of Satomi Suzuki and Reona Aoki both were under the old Asian Games Record in the women’s 100 breaststroke, but Suzuki came away with the title by a margin of .05 seconds.

Suzuki swam a 1:06.40, Aoki swam 1:06.45, and the record was a 1:06.67 set by China’s Shi Jinglin in 2014.

Comparative Splits:

  • Suzuki – 30.96/35.44 = 1:06.40
  • Aoki – 31.08/35.37 = 1:06.45
  • Shi ’14 – 31.85/34.82 = 1:06.67

Shi was 3rd in Sunday’s final, swimming a 1:07.36, followed by her countrymate Yu Jingyao in 1:07.44. China had won this event in 7 of the last 8 Asian Games, but Japan has now won the other 9 titles in total, for the most-ever by nation since the race was added to the 1958 Games.

Aoki was the faster of the two Japanese swimmers at the Pan Pacific Championships, where they swam this race 10 days ago. At that meet, she took bronze in 1:06.34 while Suzuki was 4th in 1:06.51, but Suzuki was able to carry forward to the 2nd meet better, dropping time to win  gold.

MEN’S 200 FLY:

  1. GOLD: Daiya Seto, Japan, 1:54.53
  2. SILVER: Nao Horomura, Japan, 1:55.58
  3. BRONZE: Li Zhuhao, China, 1:55.76

After a slow start to the session, Japan finished strong with a second-straight gold-silver performance, this time in the men’s 200 fly. Daiya Seto repeated as champion in 1:54.53, which is about half-a-second slower than he was for his 2014 win; while Nao Horomura took silver in 1:55.58.

Both swimmers have been faster this year, and rank in the top 5 in the world in the event, but the story of this meet so far has been the lack of lifetime-best, or even season-best, times for the participants. Horomura has been 1:53 already in 2018, for example.

Kristof Milak

2017-2018 LCM MEN 200 FLY

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China’s Li Zhuhao took bronze in 1:55.76, followed by countryman Wang Zhou in 1:56.75. Sajan Prakash from India was 5th in 1:57.75, while American-trained Zheng Quah was 6th in 1:57.95 – the same position he took at the 2018 NCAA Championships in this event.


  1. GOLD: Japan, 3:36.52 (AG, Japan Records)
  2. SILVER: China, 3:36.78
  3. BRONZE: Hong Kong, 3:41.88

18-year old Rikako Ikee led off Japan’s relay in a new Asian Games Record of 53.60, and ignited the relay as a group to new Asian Games and Japanese Records in the event.

The old Meet Record in the event was a 3:36.88 done by China at the 2010 edition, which included anchor Tang Yi, whose individual record Ikee broke with her leadoff. The old Japanese Record of 3:36.74 was done in prelims at the 2016 Olympic Games.

This race was another streak-buster, with China having won the last 5 editions, dating back to 1998. On Sunday, they too were under the Meet Record, but with only one 53-second split (a 53.68 from 16-year old anchor Yang Junxuan), China couldn’t run-down the early Japanese lead.

Hong Kong took bronze in 3:41.88. That put them on an island of sorts, 5 seconds behind China for silver, but two-and-a-half clear of Singapore for 4th. Hong Kong got that medal without their top freestyler Siobhan Haughey, who has been dealing with a foot injury.

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2 years ago

Once again, the greatness of Agnel’s 1:43.14 is underlined. Even Phelps, at 1:43.9, and Thorpe, at 1:44.0, weren’t all that close. (Let’s ignore the tech-suited swims for the moment.) There’s been a lot of talk this summer about the disappointment of not having anyone break 1:45 this year, but just because it’s been done doesn’t mean it’s not a formidable barrier. Agnel was out in 50.6 foot touch, and back in 52.5; that’s just mind-bogglingly fast on both ends. He was a 46.7 relay leg at the same meet, and had also swum a 400 in 3:43. To beat him — or just equal him — is going to require that kind of speed, along with that kind of endurance.

Reply to  HonestObserver
2 years ago

Yep. London 2012 gave us 4 incredible youngsters (Agnel, Katie Ledecky, Missy Franklin, Ye Shiwen) and only Ledecky went on to sustained success. The other three went through injury and mental issues (particularly grief from Muffat’s death in Agnel’s case) and all three almost gave up swimming very soon after 2012. Agnel and Franklin both went through major coaching and club changes as well.

Missy Franklin’s 200 back in London is something I can watch again and again. She was half a body length ahead of the super suit record line from start to finish.

Bear drinks beer
Reply to  atohitotsu
2 years ago

You forgot another youngster named Ruta Meilutyte.

Reply to  Bear drinks beer
2 years ago

I didn’t name Meilutyte and Chad le Clos (who is only two months older than Agnel, because they won close races in “normal” times. Missy and Ye set world records, Agnel and Ledecky would have set world records if not for super suits. All 4 blew the competition right out of the water (more than a body length ahead).

Reply to  atohitotsu
2 years ago

Then it will be fair to mention 1:53.6 of Allison Schmitt that is still remains unbeaten. She wasn’t that “old”. Just turned 22 in June 2012. And wasn’t ever close to this time after London. Her race was as much exciting as Ledecky’s, Agnel’s, Franklin’s and Ye’s ones.

Reply to  HonestObserver
2 years ago

In my opinion, 1.45 isn’t a formidable barrier for men’s 200 free: at Worlds2011 5 swimmers broke 1.45 (the fifth was Agnel in 1.44.92).
Phelps was second in 1.44.79 and everyone knows that from 2010 to 2012 he didn’t train with a real commitment. Phelps, in that occasion, swam also the 100 and 200 fly and the 200 im, and obviously the relays.
And the winner, Ryan Lochte (1.44.44) wasn’t a 200 free specialist but, like Phelps, an all-around swimmer ( particularly Imer and backstroker) .
The question is: why it is so difficult have a true, great 200 free specialist, above all after the brief peak of Agnel’s career (2012 and partially 2013)?

Reply to  nuotofan
2 years ago

Breaking 1:45 is still a formidable barrier. It doesn’t matter if 5 swimmers broke 1:45 in 2011. It,s still a formidable barrier. It usually takes a perfect race or once in a life time fast race from all swimmers or a perfect individual swim from one swimmer to break 1:45. Breaking 1:44 is another matter altogether. It,s even more difficult when swimming in 3 rounds. Swimmers question themselves. Should I go for it in the semi,s or in the finals.Going for it in the semi,s can leave them dead in the finals, if they push too much. But if they cruise in the semi,s they may end up out of the finals. The 200 of all strokes are the most… Read more »

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  carlo
2 years ago

To echo the perfect race theme above, remember that when MP did the 1:42.96 at Beijing he said that it was a “perfect swim? https://swimswam.com/10-michael-phelps-world-record-races-video/

Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
2 years ago

Phelps straight up dominated that race, super suit and all.

Old 80s Swimmer
Reply to  carlo
2 years ago

1:45 is actually a really old time. Yevgeni Sadovyi
came close in 1992, and Thorpe and PVDH went 1:45 18 years ago. It’s time to stop putting mental limits on performance in the 200 and start recognizing that the race has stagnated except for Agnel in textile.

Reply to  Old 80s Swimmer
2 years ago

Times will stagnate whether we like it or not. Records can’t be broken forever. Look at track and field.

Unless they bring back the suits in the future, which will be unfair to swimmers who didn’t use the suits, like Adam peaty, Ryan murphy, etc.

Reply to  nuotofan
2 years ago

Yeah, you would think if Lochte and Phelps can do it, even when they’re swimming a bunch of events, you would think other swimmers, who don’t even swim half the events those two guys did, could accomplish that. Then again, those guys are transcendent swimmers so maybe not a fair comparison.

That 2011 swim was something else though. 5th was 1.44.92? At this pace, we’ll never see a race with that much depth ever again. Imagine Sun Yang were in that race. Possibly 6 guys under 1:45!

bobo gigi
Reply to  HonestObserver
2 years ago

That year in London we have seen in my opinion the 2 greatest 200 free performances ever.
2 swimmers at their peak who have destroyed the competition.
Yannick Agnel
Allison Schmitt

2 years ago

anyone have a link to the livestream?

Reply to  Maelstrom
2 years ago
Holy water
Reply to  ice
2 years ago

Thanks. Excellent quality with a competent english commentator – only needed an asian vpn to view it.

Reply to  Holy water
2 years ago

Which vpn are you using?

Reply to  Dover
2 years ago

Singaporean. havent tried any other vpn but any asian one should work.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Holy water
2 years ago

Thank goodness after Mr. Burgess at Pan Pacs!

Reply to  ice
2 years ago

Can’t watch it in the US due to “rights agreement”. Other links?

Holy water
2 years ago

Use an Asian vpn

Reply to  ice
2 years ago

Wish it worked – the toggle reads that permission isn’t granted.

Bear drinks beer
Reply to  Maelstrom
2 years ago

Channel 4 or 10 on fujitv.

2 years ago

Let’s hope Quah can obtain a bronze medal in 200 fly. Looking at his heats time, it is not too promising.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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