2022 FINA SHORT COURSE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Over the last several months, China’s top swimmers have been preparing for the upcoming Short Course World Championships at the Training Bureau of the General Administration of Sport of China, specifically zeroing in on dryland training.
In November, this included targeted tests in things such as 30-meter sprints, vertical jumps, bench press and pull-ups, while previously they focused on exercises such as box jumps, medicine ball throws, weighted rope pulls, and working on the rowing machine and Airdyne bike.
“After this period of training, my cardiorespiratory ability and lactic acid tolerance have improved,” said Li (via translation), who is coming off of breaking the world record in the women’s 400 free (SCM) in October.
“This time not only the speed is much faster than the last time, but blood lactic acid is still a little lower than last time, and the training during this period has achieved (positive) results.”
At the Chinese Swimming Championships (SCM) in late October, Li rocketed to a time of 3:51.30 in the women’s 400 freestyle, shattering the world record of 3:53.92 previously held by Australian Ariarne Titmus.
At the same competition, Li also set a new Asian Record of 15:41.80 in the women’s 1500 free and a new Chinese Record of 1:51.25 in the 200 free.
Li said that she felt the benefits of the new training regime at those championships, and has continued to push her aerobic base in the lead-up to the SC World Championships.
“(At) this competition I have a lot of events, and I need enough (the) aerobic foundation for support. The training during this period has improved compared with the training before the (domestic) competition.
“I hope to break through my personal best results at the Short Course World Championships, impacting (the) 800 meters and 1500 meters freestyle world record.”
Li comes in as the defending champion in both the 400 free and 800 free, seeded first in both, and she’s also seeded second in the 200 free and 1500 free.
The world records in the women’s 800 free (7:57.42) and 1500 free (15:08.24) have been obliterated by Katie Ledecky over the last month and a half, but Li is still within striking distance of the 800 mark, with her best of 8:02.09 set at last year’s Worlds less than five seconds back.
In the 1500 free, Li would need to drop more than 30 seconds to challenge Ledecky’s record.
Ledecky, Titmus and Canadian Summer McIntosh (who went 3:52.80 in the 400 free just days after Li’s world record swim) won’t be in attendance in Melbourne, and now Italian Simona Quadarella has withdrawn.
With a relatively open field, it could very well be Li vs the clock in the women’s 400, 800 and 1500 free in Melbourne, while in the 200 free she’ll face off with world record holder Siobhan Haughey.