FINA World Cup Beijing Day 2 Finals: Xu Jiayu Continues Siege


Night 2 of the FINA World Cup stop in Beijing brought several tight races to the crowd as the high-profile athletes were all in the famed Water Cube vying for bragging rights and cash prizes.

Vlad Morozov of Russia was one of those athletes, following up his 100m IM/50m free double from last night with another sprint victory.

Morozov beat the men’s 100m free field rather handily this evening, stopping the clock at 45.66 for the win. That fell within .43 of the World Cup Record of 45.23 he holds since last year. His fastest this season is the 45.30 notched at the World Cup in Budapest, giving him the men’s 100m freestyle world rankings crown currently.

Behind the Russian was America’s Blake Pieroni, who took silver in 47.00. Pieroni’s time of 46.25 from Budapest is situated as #2 in the world. China’s Hou Junyi rounded out the top 3 tonight, registering an effort of 47.52.

Swedish speedster Sarah Sjostrom put on a show in her pet 50m fly event, beating out Dutch rival Ranomi Kromowidjojo by just .01 of a second. Sjostrom topped the podium in 25.03 to Kromo’s 25.04 to bounce back after falling to Kromo in the women’s 50m free last night.

Zhang Yufei showed versatility in taking bronze in 25.31 after collecting silver in the 200m fly last night behind HUngarian Katinka Hosszu.

Sjostrom was in the pool earlier in the session to contest the 200m freestyle, a race that came down to the wire between the Swede and Dutch star Femke Heemskerk. Sjostrom led the field in the opening 100m, registering a split of 55.02, but couldn’t maintain the lead as Heemskerk closed in and overtook the leader to claim gold in 1:52.22.

Sjostrom settled for silver in 1:52.35, while China’s Yang Junxuan earned bronze in 1:53.41. Of note, Li Bingjie was also in the race, but landed off the podium in 4th with at time of 1:53.48.

Both Sjostrom and Heemskerk have produced faster times already in the World Cup, with the former holding the #1 time in the world of 1:51.60, while the latter holds the runner-up slot in 1:52.04. As mentioned in the prelims recap, Hosszu punched the wall in 1:58.33 this morning to finish 12th and out of the final.

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But, Hosszu rocked the women’s 400m IM, per her usual, stopping the clock in 4:25.68 to win by over 11 seconds. Zhou Min of China registered 4:37.01 for silver, while Li Tianyao earned bronze in 4:40.22.

Also in the race was Zhang Jiaqi, who just turned 14 years of age yesterday. Jiaqi clocked 4:52.05 for 7th in the race.

It’s rare when someone other than Australia’s Emily Seebohm, Netherlands’ Kira Toussaint or Hosszu gets her hand on the wall first in a women’s backstroke event, but that’s exactly what happened tonight. Teen Minna Atherton of Australia, training partner of Seebohm at Brisbane Grammar, blasted a winning time of 56.49 to take women’s 100m back gold tonight.

Splitting 27.35/29.14, Atherton earned the top prize in the just the 2nd sub-57 mark of her young career. Hosszu settled for silver in 56.63, while Toussaint took bronze in 56.54. Seebohm finished one place shy of a podium spot, clocking 56.91 for 4th.

Atherton’s 56.49 from tonight keeps the teen ranked 5th in the world this season.

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America’s Michael Andrew made two appearances this evening, first in the men’s 50m backstroke sprint. Although he earned a new personal best of 23.14, the American saw China’s Xu Jiayu raced to the wall first, clinching gold in 22.70. His time checks-in as another Chinese National Record, after already claiming a new standard last night in the 200m distance.

Xu’s outing also slides in as the 5th fastest performance in history, as well as represents the only sub-23 second time in the world this year. Morozov took bronze behind Xu and Andrew in a time of 23.36.

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Andrew’s other race also rendered the teen a silver medal, as he notched a time of 26.15 in the 50m breast for a new personal best. In fact, his time ties that of Cody Miller to now write his name in as co-American Record holder in the event. This represents Andrew’s first American Record, although he does hold the U.S. Open Record in LCM.

Winning the 50m breast, however, was Russia’s Kirill Prigoda, clocking 26.02, while Belarusian swimmer Ilya Shymanovich earned bronze in 26.22.

Additional Winners:

  • Newly-signed Speedo athlete Mikhailo Romanchuk was tonight’s 1500m freestyle winner in a time of 14:29.88.
  • China’s Wang Shun pleased the home crowd by taking the men’s 200m IM in 1:52.08. As a reminder, Australia’s Mitch Larkin was disqualified during this morning’s heats.
  • Russia’s Yuliya Efimova earned her fastest time of the season en route to gold in the women’s 100m breast tonight. With a 29.91 opener, Efimova stopped the clock at 1:03.09 to beat out the world’s #1 swimmer in this event right now, Alia Atkinson of Jamaica. Atkinson finished behind in 1:03.44.
  • Li Zhuhao of China wrangled up another win, taking the men’s 200m fly in 1:51.94.
  • Team China was tonight’s winner in the mixed 4 x 50 freestyle relay, clocking 1:31.17 for the victory.

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About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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