China’s Liu Xiang Destroys 50 Free National & Asian Record From 1994


The 13th Annual National Games of China are nearing conclusion, but not before more history was made in the Tianjin pool tonight, courtesy of sprinter Liu Xiang.

A finalist in the women’s 50m freestyle at the 2017 World Championships with a time of 24.58, which tied two others for 6th, Liu kicked off her splash n’ dash campaign here with a monster 24.32 time in prelims. That mark was enough to demolish the previous national and continental record of 24.51 set by Le Jingyi way back in 1994 at that year’s World Championships. At the time, Le’s gold medal-winning outing represented a new World Record as well. For perspective, the bronze medalist in that 1994 race was America’s Amy Van Dyken.

Tonight in Tianjin, however, 21-year-old Liu wasn’t done setting off fireworks, as the 21-year-old crushed an even lower time of 24.04 in the 2nd semi-final. That mark hacked .28 off of her already-historic morning swim and sets her up as the top seed by well over a half a second heading into tomorrow night’s final.

Also swimming tonight was Zhejiang backstroker Liu Yaxin, who took the 200m event in a time of 2:08.41. That was good enough to beat the final field tonight by over a second, as well as surpass her own time of 2:09.02 clocked during the semi-finals of this race in Budapest.

Butterfly maestro Li Zhuhao won the 100m distance of that discipline handily tonight, stopping the clock at 51.10 to win by over a second as well. He was 6th in Budapest with a time of 50.96.

Although Ning Zetao was able to clinch his sprint freestyle double with a 50m victory tonight, his winning time of 22.04 was off of his 21.98 from last night’s semi-final. That sub-22 mark was within .05 of Ning’s own personal best and national record of 21.91 set at the 2013 edition of these Games. Runner-up tonight was Shi Yang in 22.19, while Zhao Xianjian claimed bronze in 22.26.

Freestyle ace Li Bingjie wrapped up her highly successful Games with another win, this time in the 800m distance. Li cranked out a result of 8:20.98 to collect gold on top of her 400m freestyle and 1500m victories in national record-setting times here in Tianjin.

Still left to compete individually is Sun Yang, who will contest the men’s 1500m freestyle after already sweeping the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle events.

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bobo gigi

Always crazy fast times when Chinese swim at home. Probably another 49-meter pool….

Sean Quinn

Nah, must be all the exempted medications, 🙂

bobo gigi

I’m pretty sure Liu Xiang is also the name of a male Olympic gold medalist in hurdles for china


Their names write differently in Chinese, tho identically in English.

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 …

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