2023 World University Games: Day 1 Finals Live Recap


The 2023 World University Games (WUGS) kicked off this morning at the Dong’an Lake Sports Park Swimming and Diving Hall in Chengdu, China. With a pretty heavy event load for day 1, there was a lot of action this morning. Tonight’s session will feature finals of the men’s 400 free, women’s 400 IM, women’s 4×100 free relay and men’s 4×100 free relay. There will also be semifinals of the women’s 50 fly, men’s 100 back, men’s 100 breast, women’s 200 back, and men’s 50 fly.

You can find the free live stream for day 1 finals here.

All eyes will be on a pair of Chinese stars as they race on their home soil tonight. Qin Haiyang is the #2 seed in semifinals of the men’s 100 breast tonight. Haiyang is just days removed from a historic showing at the World Championships in Fukuoka, wherein he became the first swimmer in history to sweep the breaststroke events at a World Champs. He also set the Asian Record in the men’s 100 breast in Fukuoka. That being said, Haiyang swam a very relaxed 1:00.06 in prelims this morning. It seems likely he takes down the WUGS Championship Record of 59.49 tonight in semifinals.

China’s Zhang Yufei clocked the top time in the women’s 50 fly this morning, swimming a 25.83. Yufei is also fresh from Fukuoka, where she won gold in the women’s 100 fly. Just like Haiyang, Yufei looks primed to take down the WUGS Record tonight. The record stands at 25.72 and has stood since 2015.


  • World Record: Paul Biedermann, Germany – 3:40.07 (2009)
  • WUGS Record: Mykhailo Romanchuk, Ukraine – 3:45.96 (2017)


  • GOLD: Matteo Lamberti (Italy) – 3:48.65
  • SILVER: Eduardo Oliveiro (Brazil) – 3:49.10
  • BRONZE: Ikki Imoto (Japan) – 3:49.66

The first final of the meet was a thriller. Italian Matteo Lamberti and Brazilian Eduardo Oliveiro broke out in the middle of the pool and carried their lead through till the end of the race. For a while, it looked like Lamberti would cruise to victory, however, Oliveiro completely closed the gap in the final 150m of the race, even flipping just ahead of Lamberti at the 350m turn. Lamberti had one final gear, though, and ended up pulling slightly away over the course of the final 50m.

For Oliveiro, the 3:49.10 he swam for silver also marks a new career best.

Japan’s Ikki Imoto ended up finishing in a convincing 3rd, swimming a 3:49.66. Imoto closed fast over the final 100m, pulling away from Czech Republic’s Ondrej Gemov, who he was tied with at the 250m mark. Gemov finished 4th in 3:51.96.


  • World Record: Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden – 24.43 (2014)
  • WUGS Record: Lu Ying, China – 25.72 (2015)


  1. Zhang Yufei (China) – 25.29 (Championship Record)
  2. Erin Gallagher (South Africa) – 25.71
  3. Viola Scotto (Italy) – 26.01
  4. Sonia Laquintana (Italy) – 26.19
  5. Natsuki Hiroshita (Japan) – 26.28
  6. Paulina Peda (Poland) – 26.51
  7. Emilie Beckmann (Denmark) – 26.60 (TIE)
  8. Kinge Zandringa (Netherlands) – 26.60 (TIE)

In an awesome semifinals of the women’s 50 fly, we saw the WUGS Championship Record get broken twice. The record, which has stood at 25.72 since 2015, first went down to South Africa’s Erin Gallagher in the first heat of the semis. Gallagher ripped a 25.71, clipping the record mark by 0.01 seconds. For Gallagher, the swim marks a new South African Record in the event.

Then, China’s Zhang Yufei dove in for the 2nd semifinals heat, and immediately began pulling away from the field. Yufei would tear into the finish in 25.29, smashing the record Gallagher had just set. The swim was a solid one for Yufei, who just set the Asian Record in the event last week in Fukuoka with a 25.05.

Italy continues to swim well, seeing Viola Scotto and Sonia Laquintana finish 3rd and 4th respectively. Scotto clocked a 26.01, putting her right on the threshold of cracking 25 seconds as well.


  • World Record: Thomas Ceccon, Italy – 51.60 (2022)
  • WUGS Record: Ryosuke Irie, Japan – 52.60 (2009)


  1. Simone Stefani (Italy) – 53.87
  2. Kacper Stokowski (Poland) – 54.13
  3. Michele Lamberti (Italy) – 54.24
  4. Keaton Jones (United States) – 54.36
  5. Denis Popescu (Romania) – 54.57
  6. Gabriel de Araujo (Brazil) – 54.66
  7. Tommy Janton (United States) – 54.78 (TIE)
  8. Riku Matsuyama (Japan) – 54.78 (TIE)

Putting on a very quick performance, Italy’s Simone Stefani clocked the top time of the night in the men’s 100 back with a 53.87. It was a great swim for Stefani, who came home really well, splitting 27.61 on the 2nd 50m.

Poland’s Kacper Stokowski finished 2nd overall this morning, swimming a 54.13. Meanwhile, Michele Lamberti, the other Italian in the field, put up some impressive opening speed. Lamberti got out to a 25.95, marking the fastest first 50m split in the field. He would end up in 3rd overall with a 54.24.

American Keaton Jones clocked a 54.36 for 4th tonight. For Keaton, that swim comes in just 0.02 seconds off his personal best of 54.34.


  • World Record: Summer McIntosh, Canada – 4:25.87 (2023)
  • WUGS Record: Yui Ohashi, Japan – 4:34.40


In a classic 400 IM battle, Japan’s Ichika Kajimoto managed to pull ahead of American Megan van Berkom on the freestyle portion of the race. The duo were locked in a battle throughout the swim, as Kajimoto led the field at the 200m turn by a little less than a second. Van Berkom then pulled into the lead on breaststroke, splitting a 1:21.88 to Kajimoto’s 1:22.84.

In the end, Kajimoto got her hand on the wall nearly a full second ahead of Van Berkom, giving Japan their first gold medal of the meet.

It was a very strong showing for the Americans as well, as Van Berkom earned the silver medal, while teammate Paige MacEachern grabbed the bronze in 4:45.81. MacEachern was great on the freestyle leg, pulling away from Italy’s Anna Pirovano, who ended up taking 4th tonight in 4:46.58.


  • World Record: Adam Peaty, Great Britain – 56.88 (2019)
  • WUGS Record: Ian Finnerty, United States – 59.49 (2019)


  1. Qin Haiyang (China) – 58.42 (Championship Record)
  2. Andrius Sidlauskas (Lithuania) – 1:00.08
  3. Jan Kalusowski (Poland) – 1:00.29
  4. Yamato Fukasawa (Japan) – 1:00.46
  5. Alessandro Pinzuti (Italy) – 1:00.58
  6. Song Jiale (China) – 1:00.97
  7. Ludovico Viberti (Italy) – 1:01.13
  8. Zhier Fan (United States) – 1:01.48 (TIE)
  9. Yu Hanaguruma (Japan) – 1:01.48 (TIE)

It didn’t come as a surprise, but Chinese superstar Qin Haiyang obliterated the WUGS Championship Record in the men’s 100 breast in the first heat of the semis tonight. Haiyang immediately pulled away from the field, and would only grow his lead as the race progressed. Visually, it was clear Haiyang began to pull back a bit towards the end of the race, likely saving a little more for tomorrow’s final. Nonetheless, he smashed the WUGS Record by over a second.

The previous record stood at 59.49, which was held by now-retired American swimmer Ian Finnerty from the 2019 Games. It’s very possible Haiyang lowers that mark again tomorrow night, as he swam a 57.69 to set a new Asian Record in the event en route to a gold medal last week in Fukuoka at the World Championships.

After being the only man under 1:00 in the event this morning, Lithuania’s Andrius Sidlauskas was a bit off the mark tonight, swimming a 1:00.08. Still, Sidlauskas was the 2nd-fastest swimmer in the pool tonight, earning a middle lane for tomorrow night’s final.

Of note, there was a tie for 8th tonight, which means there will be a swim-off to determine who will advance to the final. American Zhier Fan and Japan’s Yu Hanaguruma both swam 1:01.48 tonight.


  • World Record: Kaylee McKeown, Australia – 2:03.14 (2023)
  • WUGS Record: Lisa Bratton, United States – 2:07.91 (2019)


  1. Eszter Szabo-Feltothy (Hungary) – 2:11.21
  2. Camila Rodrigues (Portugal) – 2:11.97
  3. Hannah Pearse (South Africa) – 2:12.04
  4. Liu Yaxin (China) – 2:12.38
  5. Federica Toma (Italy) – 2:12.95
  6. Tatiana Salcutan (Moldova) – 2:13.02
  7. Gao Xing (China) – 2:13.27
  8. Francesca Pasquino (Italy) – 2:13.50

The first semifinals heat saw South Africa’s Hannah Pearse win in a great back half. She clocked a 2:12.04, really putting it on the final 100m of the race. Flipping in 4th at the 100m in 1:05.03, Pearse then rocketed into the lead on the 3rd 50, where she split 33.86. A 33.15 on the final 50m saw Pearse pull into the lead by a full second as she sped to the finish.

The 2nd heat then saw Eszter Szabo-Feltothy win in 2:11.21 after leading the heat throughout the race. Szabo-Feltothy was about 3 seconds off her personal best in the event, but looked smooth and in control of her race as she posted the top time of the night.

Portugal’s Camila Rodrigues also swam in the 2nd heat tonight, dipping under Pearse’s time as well. Rodrigues swam a 2:11.97, marking the 2nd-fastest time of the morning.


  • World Record: Andrii Govorov, Ukraine – 22.27 (2018)
  • WUGS Record: Andrii Govorov, Ukraine – 22.90 (2017)


  1. Luca Armbruster (Germany) – 23.18
  2. Thomas Verhoeven (Netherlands) – 23.29
  3. Lorenzo Gargani (Italy) -23.39
  4. Chen Juner (China) – 23.48
  5. Jihun Jun (South Korea) – 23.58
  6. Gabriel Santos (Brazil) – 23.60
  7. Jakub Majerski (Poland) – 23.61
  8. Adilbek Mussin (Kazakhstan) – 23.76

With a great finish, Germany’s Luca Armbruster won the first heat of the semifinals of the men’s 50 fly convincingly, posting a 23.18. With the performance, Armbruster was just off his own German Record of 23.03, which he swam in April of this year. He was also just off the WUGS Championship Record, which stands at 22.90.

Winning the 2nd heat was Thomas Verhoeven out of Netherlands, who touched in 23.29. Lorenzo Gargani was right there at the finish as well, coming in 2nd with a 23.39.


  • World Record: Australia – 3:27.96 (2023)
  • WUGS Record: United States – 3:37.99 (2019)


  • GOLD: China – 3:37.51 (Championship Record)
  • SILVER: Italy – 3:38.81
  • BRONZE: Japan – 3:41.83

The Chinese team of Li Bingjie (54.40), Liu Yaxin (54.41), Luo Youyang (55.23), and Zhang Yufei (53.47) sped to victory tonight, swimming a 3:37.51. Not only did Yufei pull away from the Italian team on the anchor, China cracked the WUGS Championship Record of 3:37.99, which was set at the 2019 Games.

Italy was locked in a battle with China from start-to-finish, and the race just got away from them when Yufei threw down her 53.4 anchor. Anita Gastaldi (55.10), Viola Scotto Di Carlo (54.55), Paola Biagioli (54.69), and Giulia D’Innocenzo (54.47) combined for a 3:38.81, earning the silver medal by a huge margin.

Japan grabbed bronze tonight in 3:41.83.


  • World Record: United States – 3:08.24 (2008)
  • WUGS Record: Russia – 3:10.88 (2013)


  • GOLD: Poland – 3:14.60
  • SILVER: Brazil – 3:15.30
  • BRONZE: Italy – 3:15.62

Swimming out of lane 7, Poland looked incredible tonight as they sped to gold in the men’s 4×100 free relay. Kamil Sieradzki (48.75), Dominik Dudys (48.81), Mateusz Chowaniec (48.89), and Jakub Kraska (48.15) teamed up for a 3:14.60, winning the race by well over half a second. Sieradzki’s lead-off leg was critical to Poland’s success, as it got his team out to a lead, a lead which they would never fully give up. Kraska’s anchor leg then sealed the deal, as he pulled away from Brazil and Italy as he roared towards the finish.

Brazil and Italy were locked in a very tight battle from start to finish. They were tied at the first exchange, as Brazil’s Pedro Spajari and Italy’s Paolo Conte both swam 49.46.

Though they finished off the podium, China’s Chen Juner was exceptional on the relay tonight, throwing down a 47.74 split on the anchor leg of the Chinese relay. His swim was by far the fastest split in the field tonight.

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4 months ago

That 4x100FR Men’s WUGs Record is utterly insane. Can’t imagine it ever being beaten

Lap Counter
4 months ago

Is it possible to list the times of all 8 finalists and not just the medalists? Like 4free. Thanks. Trying to figure out Chinese results is too hard for me

Reply to  Lap Counter
4 months ago

You can switch to English in the upper right corner.

Reply to  chip
4 months ago

I have tried to click on the CN in the UR corner but nothing happens. Could you please explain how to switch it to English?

4 months ago

They’re gonna have raced two weeks straight 💀

Lap Counter
Reply to  Virtus
4 months ago

Isn’t that what many Americans do going from seniors to juniors many years? China is hosting and want to put on a show

Reply to  Lap Counter
4 months ago

Those meets aren’t that long but yeah sort of

4 months ago

Qin said nahhhhh to thinking about his mental health

4 months ago

Did anyone see the prelims live? Or on replay? Or anyone taping it at the meet? Any parents here?

4 months ago

Cool to see Bingjie do a 100m free! And with a respectable split.

4 months ago

Chen Juner split a 47.74. Really curious to see what he can go in the 100 FL.

4 months ago

I swear Qin and Zhang were just competing at worlds 2 days ago, how are they doing this 😵