While swimmers around the world are slowly permitted to re-enter the water with the careful peeling back of coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions, we’re getting a feel for the baseline from which these athletes will begin their Olympic journey.
News out of China is that several members of its national team held an unofficial ‘practice meet’, with some key times thrown down by the likes of record holders Xu Jiayu and Yan Zibei to as initial firing shots to their international competitors.
Per the Weibo account of CCTV reporter Sun Xue, and backed up by news source SINA, 24-year-old Xu busted out a 52.37 100m backstroke scorcher in the domestic affair. Although splits were not made available by the reporter, the 52.37 time by Xu checks-in only .06 outside his result of 52.31 that garnered him the silver medal in Rio at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Comparing his 52.37 to a more recent outing, the mark would have surpassed what he produced for gold last year in Gwangju, which was a speedy 52.43. The 52.37 from Xu sits just outside the top 25 performances all-time worldwide and checks-in as his own 4th best performance ever.
The time also represents Xu’s lifetime best outside of a championships meet.
Below are Xu’s top performances ever:
- 51.86 2017 Chinese Nationals
- 52.17 2019 World Championships
- 52.27 2019 Chinese Nationals
- 52.30 2018 2018 Asian Games
Moving on to the men’s 100m breast, Yan reportedly hit the wall in a time of 59.50 to grab his first sub-minute result of this pandemic era. Yan earned bronze in Gwangju at last year’s FINA World Aquatic Championships, notching a new national and Asian record of 58.63 in the process.
Yang owns the Chinese national record with her outing of 1:54.98 logged just this past January during the Beijing stop of the FINA Champions Series. Her outing here fell just .08 outside of that result, which bodes well for the 18-year-old Olympic hopeful.
Finally, the Weibo update says that Xu Yiayu, Yan Zibei, Zhang Yufei, and Yang Junxuan posted a collective mixed medley relay time of 3:40.26. Splits are unknown, but this time unofficially would outperform the Chinese national record of 3:40.45 punched at the 2018 Asian Games.