Day 2 of the pool swimming portion of the 2013 National Games of the People’s Republic of China wrapped on Thursday, and included the first big surprise of the meet in the women’s 400 free.
Women’s 100 fly FINALS
The 100 fly, though, continued what we’ve seen for many years now in China. They’re still not very old, but Lu Ying, Liu Zige, and Jiao Liuyang have ruled roost in Chinese women’s butterflying for half-a-decade, and that was the finish order here at the National Games.
Lu took gold in 57.04, followed by Liu in 57.51 and Jiao in 58.04.
Younger than all of those four was perhaps some new blood: 21-year old Zhou Yilin from Heibei in 4th with a 58.18. She’s generally regarded as more of a 200 butterflier, and could be looking at something in the 2:06 or 2:07 range later in the meet based upon this swim.
Men’s 100 breast FINALS
In the second final of the night, the men’s 100 breaststroke, Xie Zhi put a big hurt into a National Record that was badly in need of breaking. He won the race in 1:00.31, which knocked four-tenths of a second off of the 1:00.73 with which he won the 2009 Asian Games.
China’s men’s relays have long lagged behind their women’s at the international level, but with now Xie seeming to live up to the potential in the breaststrokes that he had when he was younger, the China’s men’s medley should begin to greatly improve (they were only 10th at Worlds, failing to final).
Li Xiayan took 2nd in the race in 1:00.84, also just missing the old National Record, and giving the People’s Liberation Army their second of four medals Thursday, after not winning any on day 1. Mao Feilian took 3rd in 1:01.07.
Women’s 400 free FINALS
This swim was the biggest upset of the day, with Cao Yue from Shanxi taking the win in 4:03.11, beating out Zhang Yuhan from the People’s Liberation Army (4:04.38) and the Asian Record holder Chen Qian from Shandong (4:04.41).
Chen Qian was not only the record holder in the race, but the defending champion, all from the 2009 edition of this meet in front of a home crowd.
As we’ve seen a lot of in this meet, this victory was a very late-breaking one. Those top three sat nose-to-nose through 300 meters before Cao accelerated to the finish in a 58.6. Cao Yue’s time would have taken a bronze medal at Worlds, where China didn’t have a swimmer even close to finaling.
Men’s 400 free Relay FINALS
Sun Yang, on his second swim of the session, kept his quest for 7 gold medals alive, as Zhejiang cruised to an easy victory in 3:15.61. As the anchor, splitting 48.14, he was not even the star of this relay, however.
That honor belong to Lu Zhiwu, who led the Zhejiang men off in a 48.33, which is a new Asian Record. That broke the 48.49 that Japan’s Takuro Fujii did in 2009, in addition to Ning Zetao’s 48.60 from the National Championships in April as the Chinese Record.
Zetao may be ready to take that record right back, however, as he posted the most impressive sprint swim in Chinese history in this relay. Anchoring the silver-medal relay of the People’s Liberation Army, and trying in vain to chase down Sun Yang, he split a 47.24 (22.0-25.2) on the anchor leg. His relay came up 2nd in 3:17.80, while Beijing took 3rd in 3:18.50.
Full, live meet results available here (in Chinese).
- As alluded to, that relay gold medal was Sun’s swim of the night, following the semifinal of the 200 free. There, he went a casual 1:48.09 for the top seed, with Li Yunqi (1:48.76) and Xu Qiheng (1:48.98) not far behind. In his 400, we saw Sun play the preliminary rounds very easily as well, so expect him to turn up the speed in finals (though, the result shouldn’t be anything too special regardless). He’s done a good job, on a long schedule, to conserve quite a bit of energy.
- In the women’s 100 breast semifinal, Zhao Jin took the top seed in 1:08.24, but this will be a very crowded final. The top 8 swimmers and finalists were separated by only nine-tenths of a second. That includes the 2nd seed Liu Xiaoyu from the hosts Liaoning in 1:08.40 and the 3rd seed Shi Jingling from Jiangsu in 1:08.43.
- In the men’s 100 back semifinal, Xu Jiayu put up an early statement in 53.85 for the top seed over the Chinese National Record holder Cheng Feiyi in 54.42. In the least, this gives Zhejiang a shot at the men’s 400 medley relay, and at the most it could be another big upset. The battle should be basically between those two, as Zhang Yu from Beijing was well back with a 54.92 for the 3rd seed.
- In the women’s 100 backstroke, Fu Yuanhui gave Zhejiang another top seed as they continue their overall dominance of this meet. She swam a 59.36 for the top seed in the women’s 100 back, doing most of her work on the front half (28.6-30.7).She was the only swimmer under a minute, topping Liao Yali from Hunan in 1:00.39 and Zhao Jing from Hubei in 1:00.76. Jing was one of the few Chinese swimmers who really performed well at Worlds, taking gold in the 50 back in her only individual swim of the meet.
Though the People’s Liberation Army and Shanghai both had very good days, Zhejiang continues to top the medal table with 4 golds: over half of those awarded in the competition so far.