Chinese Olympic Trials: Zhang Yufei Drops Lifetime Best 200 Meter Fly, 2:05.44


Two swimmers were able to beat the FINA ‘ A’ cut and secure spots on China’s Olympic Roster on day five of the Chinese Olympic Trials.

After tying her own Chinese National Record in the 100 freestyle prelims heat earlier, Zhang Yufei scratched the 100 freestyle semifinal. This decision may have been to focus on her 200 fly final during the same session where she dominated the race and touched the wall first with a time of 2:05.44. Yufei was about 3 seconds under the FINA ‘A’ cut and 2nd-place-finisher Yu Liyan finished with a time of 2:07.03, also under the ‘A’ cut.

Yufei crushed her semifinals performance from yesterday by .93. Her finals time (splits unavailable at the time of publishing) places her at the top of the fastest women in the event this year:

2020-2021 LCM Women 200 Fly

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Zhang broke 2:06.00 in this event for the first time in January, destroying her 2017 personal best of 2:06.17 with a time of 2:05.77 at the Chinese Long Course Invitational. At the same meet, Yufei posted a 2:05.49 which was her current lifetime best time going into this meet.

Yufei made it through semifinals at the 2016 Rio Olympics in this event. She finished in 6th place with a time of 2:07.40, and her progress this year projects she has a serious shot at making the podium in Tokyo. For context, it took a time of 2:05.20 to podium in 2016.

There were four finals races during day five’s finals session at the Chinese Olympic Trials and the only event where swimmers cracked the FINA ‘A’ cut was the women’s 200 butterfly.

There were a few close calls, though. Cheng Long came within .1.12 seconds of the cut in the men’s 800 free final as he touched the wall first at 7:55.43. In the men’s 200 breaststroke final, Yan Zibei got his hand to the wall first (2:10.80) but he was still .45 off the FINA ‘A’ cut.

He Junyi and Pan Zhanle had a tight race in the men’s 100 freestyle final, with Junyi ultimately claiming 1st place (48.71), .03 ahead of Zhanle. Both swimmers were within .20 of the FINA ‘A’ cut.

In the semifinals, 19-year-old Yang Junxuan had a solid 100 freestyle win with a time of 53.56, undercutting the FINA ‘A’ cut by about .80.

As a reminder, this is the first of two Olympic qualifying meets for China, with the second Trials meet scheduled for May 31st – June 1st. The events that no swimmer or only one swimmer has cracked the FINA ‘A’ cut in are just more opportunities for competitors to earn a spot on China’s Olympic roster later this month.

Top 3 Finishers in Each Event:

Men’s 800 Freestyle – Final

  • Fina ‘A’ cut: 7:54.31
  • Chinese National Record: 7:32.12 –Zhang Lin (2009)
  1. Cheng Long – 7:55.43
  2. Ji Xinjie – 7:58.63
  3. Zhang Ziyang – 8:03.22

Men’s 200 Breaststroke – Final

  • Fina ‘A’ cut: 2:10.35
  • Chinese National Record: 2:07.35 – Qin Haiyang (2017)
  1. Yan Zibei – 2:10.80
  2. Qin Haiyang – 2:11.16
  3. Yu Zongda – 2:12.79

Women’s 100 Freestyle – Semifinal

  • Fina ‘A’ cut: 54.38
  • Chinese National Record: 52.90 – Zhang Yufei (2021)
  1. Yang Junxuan – 53.56
  2. Cheng Yujie – 54.10
  3. Wu Qingfeng – 54.27

Men’s 200 Backstroke – Semifinal

  • Fina ‘A’ cut: 1:57.50
  • Chinese National Record: 1:53.99 – Xu Jiayu (2018)
  1. Wang Yutian – 2:00.24
  2. Li Guangyuan – 2:00.53
  3. Xu Jiayu – 2:01.18

Women’s 200 Butterfly – Final

  • Fina ‘A’ cut: 2:08.43
  • Chinese National Record: 2:01.81 – Liu Zige (2009)
  1. Zhang Yufei – 2:05.44
  2. Yu Liyan – 2:07.03
  3. Zhang Yifan – 2:08.16

Men’s 100 Freestyle – Final

  • Fina ‘A’ cut: 48.57
  • Chinese National Record: 47.65 – Ning Zetao (2014)
  1. He Junyi – 48.71
  2. Pan Zhanle – 48.74
  3. Yang Jintong – 48.94

Women’s 200 Breaststroke – Semifinal

  • Fina ‘A’ cut: 2:25.52
  • Chinese National Record: 2:21.37 – Qi Hui (2009)
  1. Yu Jingyao – 2:27.43
  2. Ye Shiwen – 2:29.17
  3. Tang Qianting – 2:29.36

Men’s 200 Individual Medley – Semifinal

  • Fina ‘A’ cut: 1:59.67
  • Chinese National Record: 1:56.16 – Wang Shun (2017)
  1. Wang Shun – 1:59.42
  2. Qin Haiyang – 2:01.28
  3. Deng Ziqi – 2:03.12

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3 days ago

She’s at or near the top of the rankings in both the 100 and 200 fly.

I think it’s been awhile that someone got Olympic medals in both fly events.

Petria Thomas did it back in 2004.

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Marklewis
3 days ago

zhang yufei is the clear favourite in the 200 right now, and and has a strong chance in the 100 which is more crowded. jess schipper was the last to medal in both, with her two bronzes in beijing

Last edited 3 days ago by Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
3 days ago

I don’t blame Mark for missing that. Women’s fly has been on the same wavelength as men’s breast: you can’t be top-of-the-heap in both events.

Reply to  Marklewis
3 days ago

Jess Schipper got bronze in the 100 and 200m fly in 2008.

Last edited 3 days ago by Petriasfan
First to the 25
3 days ago

Feels like a slow meet overall

Reply to  First to the 25
3 days ago

What are you expecting, a world record!?

Reply to  Khachaturian
3 days ago

Maybe not world records, but there is no denying that some of the big names, particularly on the men’s side, over the last few years have been a little inconspicuous here.

Reply to  Emg1986
3 days ago

The Chinese women have certainly impressed in the W 100 FL, W 200 FL, W 200 FR, W 400 FR, W 1500 FR. Look up the rankings for calendar year 2021 in the aforementioned events.

3 days ago

Zhang Yufei could be also an important addition for the 4×200 free relay. At last Worlds China finished fourth in 7.46.22 with these splits: Yang Junxuan 1.56.4, Wang Jianjiahe 1.56.5, Li Bingjie 1.56.3 and Zhang Yuhan 1.57.0.
Now Yang Junxuan may swim 2 seconds faster, and Zhang Yufei, considering she is a 2.05.4 200 flyer and a 52.9 100 freer, at least 1 second faster than Zhang Yuhan. Moreover, Li Bingjie (particularly) and Wang Jianjiahe look in better form than 2 years ago. So China would be in the 7.42-7.43 zone, not so distant from the two favorites, Australia and United States.

Reply to  nuotofan
3 days ago

Why would she be a full second faster than the 1:57 time she put down in prelims for relay consideration?

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Troyy
3 days ago

seems like someone with a 52.9 100 free and 2:05.4 200 fly would have a 200 free thats better than 1:57.22, but maybe that will come with time

Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
2 days ago

But probably not ready for the Olympics given she was tapered for that 1:57 at trials.

Last edited 2 days ago by Troyy
Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
Reply to  nuotofan
3 days ago

4×200 free final and 200 fly final are in the same session. This is a very tough double. (200 fly itself is already super tough.)

Reply to  Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
3 days ago

And Li will have Ledecky’s schedule before 4×200 relay. Two 400, three 200 and two 1500 races where she has to swim at her bests to get to the finals and to medal then.

Reply to  Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
3 days ago

To my recollection, the last woman to attempt the aforementioned double was Katie McLaughlin at the 2015 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Kazan, Russia.

W 200 FL – 2:06.95 (6th)
W 4 x 200 FR – 1:56.92 (3rd leg)

Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
Reply to  Smith-King-Dahlia-Manuel
2 days ago

Yufei also did this double in Kazan.
200 fly – 2:06.51 bronze
4×200 – 1:58.73 third leg.

Reply to  nuotofan
3 days ago

They still have some days to take over hkg swim OC and make haughey swim for them

Corn Pop
Reply to  Rafael
3 days ago

I think they have HK but they are just being nice .

Reply to  Corn Pop
3 days ago

take Haughey.
Put on 4×100 mixed medley instead of Menghui and 4×200 instead of slowest leg


Also could put their 4×100 free relay into medal position

Reply to  Rafael
3 days ago

If the world record in individual competition is a manifestation of human abilities (nobody in the history of mankind could do better), then relay competition is first of all a competition between group of people – nations in the case of Olympic Games. That actually contradicts the spirit of OG.
Why not to make the international relay of the best swimmers to set the world record which can be used by any groups of people as a benchmark to compete against it if they wish to without bringing any politics to the sport.

Reply to  Yozhik
3 days ago

Not the best take here. But a Dressel-Chalmers-Scott-Kolesnikov 400 free relay would be cool.

Reply to  NCAA>ISL
3 days ago

Let’s do a USA vs. the world 4 x 100 free relay.

Reply to  RUN-DMC
3 days ago

A fun thought experiment, but that wouldn’t really be a competitive relay.

I mean…the U.S. didn’t even win the 400 medley at the last World Championships. Now imagine if you put Kolesnikov or Xu on the front of Great Britain’s relay. Now they’ve won by 1.3 seconds. Swap out James Guy for Minakov, now it’s a 2 second margin. Maybe Scott doesn’t swim that ridiculous anchor if he isn’t playing catchup…but it’s still a dominant relay.

Reply to  Braden Keith
3 days ago

Maybe for the medley but the US could literally put up two medal contending 4×100 free relays right now. And probably a third that could final at the olympics or WC.

Reply to  Swammer
3 days ago

If there was such a thing of World x Usa relay.

Only races that could actually be competitive would be men 4×100 free and that considering that Scott would not split 46 for instance. and women 4×100 medley (much because of King).. the other would not be even close.

Even if there was a rule 1 swimmer per country would not be close on the rest.. (1 swimmer per country even on 4×100 free and women medley would be pretty competitive)
Scott, Kolesnikov, Chalmers and maybe Milak now (As Chiereghini does not seem to be on his 2017~2019 level)
Women medley (World) – Masse, Dawson (Not Mckeown), Schoenmaker, Yufei and Cate or Mckeon. If sjostrom were available I… Read more »

Reply to  RUN-DMC
3 days ago

Like it is done in soccer when some national team celebrates its anniversary playing against world team.
BTW does anybody know why there are 4 members on relay team? Not 3 or 5, for instance.