The Chinese Inter-City Swimming Championships kicked off today in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province. In the never-ending quest to decipher the inner-workings of Chinese swimming, this meet is one of the highlights to find the next great Chinese swimmers. It’s a huge portion of their Olympic quadrennial plan, and among others, it is where World Record holder Sun Yang first showed his great potential. The meet is designated for boys 18-and-under and girls 17-and-under to help identify new young talent ahead of the Olympic year.
There was certainly no lack of talent on display, at that, starting with Ye Shiwen posting the world’s 2nd-fastest time this year in the 400 IM in 4:33.66. Ye made huge waves with her textile-best 200 IM (remember, that one where she split a 29.4 on the closing leg to barnstorm the field?) at the World Championships; and now she stands behind only Elizabeth Beisel in the world.
But here’s how insanely deep China is becoming. Li Xuanxu posted a 3:34.33, which makes her the 4th-fastest in the world this year. And this is a junior meet. That’s not kidding, folks.
Things only continued down the ridiculous-hill to insanity from there. In the boys 400 free, 18-year old Li Yunqi put up a 3:47.53, which is a second-and-a-half better than his previous career-best, and ranks him as #15 in the world in 2011. The runner-up was Wang Kechang in 3:55.11, which by most standards is a spectacular time (think top-10 recruit Drew Cosgarea at Stanford), but at this meet left him 8 seconds behind.
Wang Shun won the boys 400 IM in 4:14.09, which is incidentally four seconds faster than any junior in the United States went in 2011. That time was still 3 seconds slower than he went at Chinese Nationals in September, which ranked him 4th in the world. Huang Chaosheng, also three seconds off of his season-best, swam a 4:15.34 for 2nd, which is also a great time.
And finally, the Hangzhou girls 400 free relay won in 3:43.39, which is an average of 55.8’s. That includes a 56.01 leadoff from Shao Yiwen, who at her best is a 1500 swimmer. That’s not bad for versatility.
Full Top Three Results
Boys 400 IM
Wang Shun 4’14″09
Huang Chaosheng 4’15″34
Li xiang 4’21″38
Boys 400 free
Li Yunqi 3’47″53
Wang Kecheng 3’55″11
Bian Shaoqing 3’57″08
Girls 400 IM
Ye Shiwen 4’33″66
Li Xuanxu 4’34″33
Zhou Min 4’45″51
Girls 4×100 free
Hangzhou 3’43″39 (Shao Yiwen led with a 56″01)