SWIMMING AT THE 2018 ASIAN GAMES
- August 19th-24th, 2018
- Jakarta, Indonesia
- Schedule & Results
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.
WOMEN’S 1500 FREE:
- GOLD: Wang Jianjiahe, CHN, 15:53.68
- SILVER: Li Bingjie, CHN, 15:53.80
- 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.
MEN’S 200 FREE:
- GOLD: Sun Yang, CHN, 1:45.43
- SILVER: Katsuhiro Matsumoto, JPN, 1:46.50
- 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.
WOMEN’S 200 BACK:
- GOLD: Liu Yaxin, China, 2:07.65
- SILVER: Natsumi Sakai, Japan, 2:08.13
- 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.
MEN’S 100 BACK:
- GOLD: Xu Jiayu, China, 52.34 (AG =)
- SILVER: Ryosuke Irie, Japan, 52.53
- 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.
WOMEN’S 100 BREAST:
- GOLD: Satomi Suzuki, Japan, 1:06.40 (AG Record)
- SILVER: Reona Aoki, Japan, 1:06.45
- 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.
- 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:
- GOLD: Daiya Seto, Japan, 1:54.53
- SILVER: Nao Horomura, Japan, 1:55.58
- 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.
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.
WOMEN’S 400 FREE RELAY:
- GOLD: Japan, 3:36.52 (AG, Japan Records)
- SILVER: China, 3:36.78
- 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.