The Chinese men are making strides to catch up with their female counterparts at the 2013 Chinese long course National Championships in Zhengzhou this week. On Friday, the third National Record went down, this one to the hands of Mao Feilian in the men’s 200 breaststroke.
Feilian swam a 2:11.15, which breaks the old record of 2:11.67 set at this same meet last year by Li Xiang. He was followed closely by Ma Juje in 2:12.81, with the old record holder Xiang nowhere to be found.
In the women’s 100 free, Yi Tang made her first individual appearance of the meet. Now that she’s given up the 200 free entirely, her sprinting seems to be benefiting, at least in the near-term. She won this race in 54.03, which ranks her second-fastest in the world so far in 2013.
There’s still not great depth in the Chinese sprint ranks, even as they are improving; the runner-up Qiu Yuhan took 2nd in 54.64, and Pang Jiaying was 3rd in just 55.33.
And finally, in the other individual final of the day, the men’s 200 backstroke, Xu Jiayu won in 1:57.83, followed by Li Yunqi in 1:58.89. The prodigious absence in this race was no Zhang Fenglin, the National Record holder and 2012 Olympian, who local media reports has retired.
In semi-final action, Ning Zetao, the 20-year old who broke the National Record in the 100 free earlier in the meet, swam 22.09 in the 50 free. That’s not far off of another record. Shiwen Ye, swimming a 200 backstroke event that is a little unique for her, took the top seed in that race in semi’s in 2:09.92.