2019 CHINESE NATIONALS
- March 24th – March 31st
- Swimming and Diving Hall of Qingdao Sports Center
- SwimSwam Meet Preview
- Day 1 Recap
- Day 2 Recap
- Day 3 Recap
- Day 4 Recap
*Note: Results are only available through Chinese app
With Sun Yang out of the water individually on day 5, the spotlight shone brightly on the men’s 100m freestyle race, one that would turn out to be a historic one. Already clocking a massive personal best of 48.29 to become the 2nd fastest performer ever in the event in last night’s semi-final, He Junyi managed to drop even more time to clear the field in a monumental outing.
He’s time tonight checked-in as 48.10, dropping .19 from yesterday and busting ahead of Japan’s Katsumi Nakamura in the world rankings to claim the #2 position.
He further cemented himself as a very viable option for Chinese sprinting in the place of 2015 World Champion Ning Zetao, who announced his retirement recently at just 26 years of age.
Perhaps just as important, however, is the charge He seemed to draw out of his competitors in tonight’s final. He represented just one of three sub-49 second 100m freestylers, with Yu Hexin producing a new personal best, beating his 48.87 from Rio with a silver medal-garnering effort of 48.85 tonight.
But also under 49 was Cao Jewin, who rounded out the top 3 in 48.97, marking the 21-year-old’s first time ever under the 49-second barrier.
For comparison, at these same championships last year, the top 3 men in the 100m free were as follows:
- Hou Yujie, 49.37
- Yu Hexin, 49.39
- (TIE) Yang Jintong/Sun Yang, Zhejiang 49.48
For more perspective, the top 3 finishers at the Chinese Championships last October were as follows:
- Hou Yujie – 49.30
- He Junyi – 49.41
- Cao Jiwen – 49.53
Finally, at last year’s Asian Games, arguably the most prestigious continental event outside of the Olympics for these Chinese swimmers, Yu was 48.88 and Hou was 48.95.
Again, these past results highlight just how significant it is that 3 Chinese men were under the 49 second barrier tonight.
Fireworks were also seen in the men’s 200m IM event tonight, as National Record holder Wang Shun came within half a second of his Chinese standard en route to topping the podium. Wang produced a 1:56.66 stunner to beat the field by over 2 seconds this evening, overtaking the #1 spot in the world rankings in doing so. He displaces Japan’s Daiya Seto, who holds the #2 time now in 1:56.98.
Both Wang and Seto represent the only two men to have dipped under the 1:57-second threshold so far this season. Wang is coming off of Asian Games gold, where he took the top prize in Jakarta in another sub-1:57 outing in 1:56.52, out-touching another Japanese powerhouse in Kosuke Hagino, who finished there in 1:56.75.
Olympic bronze medalist Fu Yuanhui scored the gold in her specialty 50m back event, earning a winning effort of 27.61. That held off Chen Jie, who hit the wall just .17 later in 27.78. Wang Xueer also nabbed a medal with 28.06 for bronze.
Fu remains on top of the world, out-performing her previous season-best of 27.69 from last October.
The other final of the night was the women’s 200m fly, with Zhu Jiaming pulling a mild upset over semi-final leader Zhang Yufei. 17-year-old Zhu fired off a time of 2:08.19 to take the Chinese National title, with Zhang a fingernail behind, finishing in 2:08.24 in the 2-woman race.
Bronze tonight went to Zhou Yuqui, who clocked 2:08.96 in the semi, but swam slightly slower tonight to log 2:09.20.
Zhang was the 2018 Asian Games gold medalist in this event and has a successful past with this event. The 20-year-old collected bronze at the 2015 World Championships, 2016 Short Course World Championships, bronze at the 2017 World Championships, silver at last year’s Short Course World Championships and gold at the 2018 Asian Games.
Her time in Jakarta last year was 2:06.61, showing what the swimmer is capable of when it counts.
The remainder of tonight’s events were semi-finals, setting swimmers up for more showdowns come tomorrow at Qingdao Sports Center. On-fire Ye Shiwen, who already won the women’s 200m IM here in her fastest time since Rio, leads the women’s 200m breast field with a mark of 2:25.32. That blows away her previous personal best of 2:28.65 logged in Indianapolis at the the 2017 Pro Swim Series top there.
Ye’s effort sits within the top 15 performances in the world this season and sets the 2012 double Olympic champion up for perhaps an even bettering of her personal best tomorrow night.
Additional Top Seeds:
- A trio of women were sub-55 in the 100m freestyle, led by Yang Junxuan‘s 54.63 and Wu Yue‘s 54.63, as the women tied. Zhu Menghui is in the mix as well, just .10 back in 54.73.
- Right off his 200m IM, Qin Haiyang got the job done to claim lane 4 in the men’s 200m breast. Clocking 2:12.58, Qin holds a .07 advantage of Yan Zibei, the man who already clocked a new 50m breast National Record earlier in this meet.
- Wang Guanbin is leading the men’s 200m back semi-final in 1:59.14, but 23-year-old Olympic medalist in the 100m, Xu Jiayu, is right behind in 1:59.21.