13TH ANNUAL NATIONAL GAMES OF CHINA
- Tianjin, China
- August 27th – September 8th
- SwimSwam Meet Preview
- Day 1 Recap
- Day 2 Recap
15-year-old Li Bingjie blasted a new Chinese and Asian record tonight in the women’s 400m freestyle while competing at the National Games of China, but she wasn’t the only youngster to crank out an eye-popping swim in the session. Although she wasn’t able to land on the podium in the women’s 100m butterfly, Wang Yichun, just 12 years of age, crushed a time of 58.44 to finish in 4th place in the event.
Yichun’s age of just 12 is not a typo. In fact, the youth has already been sub-1:00 in the 100m fly this year, having rocked a 59.07 at the National Spring Championships this past April. Entering these National Games of China, that time ranked as 52nd in the world, but her 58.44 finish tonight now checks-in as 31st, ahead of Americans Dakota Luther and Cassidy Bayer.
For perspective, the fastest American 12-year-old female in history was in fact Bayer, who earned a time of 1:01.75 back in 2012. She is followed by Claire Curzan’s recent time of 1:02.13 from this year. Former world record holder Dana Vollmer held a time of 1:02.49 in this event when she was 12 years old back in 2000. Yichun’s time is a whopping 3+ seconds ahead of all 3.
To compare to another country, Australia’s national age group record for 13&U females in the 100m butterfly event is 59.95 set by Yolane Kukla in 2009. For the Netherlands, the fastest 12-year-old female ever in the 100m butterfly was Elise Tanis, who registered a time of 1:08.69 in 2014. Yichun’s sub-59 second mark is still in a league of its own when compared to these other nations’ standards.
The World Junior Record is held by Canada’s Penny Oleksiak with the 56.46 she established at the Rio Olympic Games en route to silver. Yichun still has a ways go to get within striking distance of that mark, but then again she has a ways to go until she nears the upper-end of the 18&U junior time bracket.