Pan Zhanle Produces 3:45.58 400 Free Personal Best On Day 1 Of Chinese Trials


The 2024 Chinese National Swimming Championships kicked off today from Shenzhen with the competition spanning a massive 10 days on the journey to Paris 2024 Olympic Games qualification.

Already on day one, we saw four swimmers add their names to the potential Chinese roster, 2 for the men and 2 for the women.

The men’s 400m free was one of tonight’s finals, with newly-minted 100m freestyle world record holder Pan Zhanle firing off a new lifetime best en route to gold.

19-year-old Pan stopped the clock in 3:45.58 to get a narrow edge over runner-up Zhang Zhanshuo who touched in 3:45.82 for silver. Fei Liwei was also right in the mix, settling for bronze in 3:45.96.

All 3 men comfortably cleared the World Aquatics Olympic Qualification Time of 3:46.78 needed for selection, although just the top 2 will get the nod.

For Pan, the teen erased his previous lifetime best performance of 3:46.40 notched at the 2023 edition of the Chinese Nationals. He moves up to rank as China’s 6th-best performer of all-time in this 400m free event and ranks 11th in the world on the season. We’ll have to wait and see if the teen actually opts to add this event to his Paris lineup.

All-Time Chinese Men’s LCM 400 Free Performers

  1. Sun Yang – 3:40.14, 2011
  2. Zhang Lin – 3:41.35, 2009
  3. Hao Yun – 3:44.87, 2013
  4. Zhang Zhanshuo – 3:45.11, 2023
  5. Li Yunqi – 3:45.49, 2012
  6. Pan Zhanle – 3:45.58, 2024
  7. Ji Xinjie – 3:45.64, 2019

Pan’s performance is a testament to his versatility, as the ace owns the following PBs:

  • 50m free – 21.92
  • 100m free – 46.80, World Record
  • 200m free – 1:44.65
  • 400m free – 3:45.58

The women’s 400m free final also saw two finishers make the grade, led by 22-year-old Olympian Li Bingjie.

Li registered a winning effort of 4:04.03 with Liu Yaxin right behind in 4:04.88. Yang Peiqi rounded out the podium in 4:05.25.

Both Li and Liu dipped under the OQT of 4:07.90, although Li has been faster this season, courtesy of the 4:01.62 she turned in for silver at this year’s World Championships.

She owns a personal best of 4:01.08 from the 2020 Olympic Games, a time which remains as China’s national record and the Asian Record. Li hit that same mark twice, with her 2nd time happening at this same competition last year.

In semi-final action, 4 of the top 6 fastest Chinese men ever claimed the top spots in the 100m breaststroke event.

Reigning Chinese national and Asian continental record holder Qin Haiyang raced his way to the pole position in a solid swim of 58.62.

Qin fired off a lifetime best of 57.69 during the World Cup last year, becoming the #2 performer in history in the process.

He’ll be the man to beat in tomorrow’s final, chased by Sun Jiajun who snagged the 2nd seed in 59.14. World Junior Record holder in the 200m breast, Dong Zhihao, will also flank Qin in 59.61 while former Asian record holder Yan Zibei claimed the 4th seed in 1:00.26.

Dong has already outperformed the 1:00.45 he put up in the heats of this 1breast event in Doha. Yan remains China’s #2 performer ever with his 58.63 personal best put on the books at the 2019 World Championships.

All-Time Chinese Men’s LCM 100 Breaststroke Performers

  1. Qin Haiyang – 57.69, 2023
  2. Yan Zibei – 58.63, 2019
  3. Sun Jiajun – 58.99, 2023
  4. Wang Lizhuo – 59.44, 2019
  5. Li Xiang – 59.55, 2016
  6. Dong Zhihao – 59.61, 2024

Olympic multi-gold medalist Zhang Yufei wasted no time staking her claim on the women’s 100m fly.

The versatile 26-year-old crushed a mark of 56.47 as the sole swimmer of the field under the 57.50 threshold. As quick as this semi swim was, Zhang’s season-best checks in at the 55.86 put up for gold at last year’s Asian Games to rank #2 in the world.

Wang Yichun sits as the 2nd-seeded athlete in 57.55, within half a second of her PB of 57.05 from last year’s Chinese Spring Nationals.

Yu Yiting also already got under the Paris 2024 QT of 57.92 with a 3rd-seeded 57.61 for tomorrow night’s final.

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2 months ago

26,2 is a very strong final 50m from Pan

2 months ago

China will pop off at Paris. LA is gonna be interesting. When will USA fall?

Chris Bailey
Reply to  Chad
2 months ago

I think China will do very well in Paris but there are still some way behind USA and Australia. But if they can keep developing their talented juniors into world beaters then LA28 will be very interesting.

Reply to  Chris Bailey
2 months ago

It kind of depends. China has a small but legitimate chance to top the medal table.

Pan 100 free
Pan 200 free
Xu 100 Back
Qin 100 Breast
Qin 200 Breast
Wang 200IM
Zhang 100 fly
Zhang 200 fly
Tang 100 breast
Yiting 200IM
Mixed medley
Men’s medley

If Aus and USA fail to convert a couple of chances and China can pull off a couple of outside chances then that’s enough.

Chris Bailey
Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

The men’s squad has come a long way in the past few years. Just look at their relays and most are quite young. Challenging for medals everywhere.

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Chad
2 months ago

The demise of USA swimming has already been predicted … in 2015. You are late to the train.

Former swimmer
Reply to  Chad
2 months ago

Considering they’re getting caught for doping, I would rethink that.

Reply to  Former swimmer
2 months ago

Who lil man? does Shayna jack coming back with best times , after banned for 4 years raises an eyebrow?

Reply to  Ropobowski
2 months ago

Her suspension was reduced by CAS to two years.

2 months ago

If Pan’s PBs are faster than Popovici’s at the 50, 100, and 400 free, doesn’t that imply he has the potential to be faster too at the 200?

Reply to  BairnOwl
2 months ago

I suspect Popovici’s 400 free could be much better than what his PB is. He never swam a final in the 400 during his peak form.

Sacre Bleu!
Reply to  BairnOwl
2 months ago

I think Pan’s combined 50 + 100 + 200 + 400 time is fastest ever.

Maybe Swimswam can make the list.

Reply to  Sacre Bleu!
2 months ago

normalized by distance, probably. If you straight up add times, probably not though since the 400 would be weighted so heavily – the fastest add up by raw times would probably just be Biedermann, whose 200 + 400 is 8 seconds faster than Pan

Sacre Bleu!
Reply to  jeff
2 months ago

Dang it.

I forgot about Biedermann and his hydrofoil boat (as Britta Steffen was aptly calling it for the super suit).

Reply to  Sacre Bleu!
2 months ago

He’s not.

The problem with an addup across distances is that the longest distance by-far outweighs the shorter distance.

Pan is a full second better than Biedermann in the 50 free, which is a MASSIVE gap in the 50…but Biedermann is 6.3 seconds better in the 400. So Pan would have to go 16.5 in the 50 free to cancel out that 400 margin for Biedermann.

Biedermann’s add-up is 6.41 seconds better than Pan’s.

Better measure would be to score by all-time rank in all of the distances.

Sacre Bleu!
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 months ago

All time rank would benefit current swimmers.

How about a list of post-2009?

That would be fair.

Last edited 2 months ago by Sacre Bleu!
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 months ago

Surely you can just adjust the calculation so that each distance has equal weight by doing divisions on the longer distances.

2 months ago

Assuming that Pan needed to fully taper last month to break the WR in Doha, why would Pan use a full taper again two months later when he’s already qualified for all the events he’s going to swim at the Olympics?

Reply to  John26
2 months ago

Maybe it’s not a full taper ? 😨

han qihao
2 months ago

China’s selection completely simulates the Olympic schedule, I personally look forward to the performance of the men’s butterfly, because the quality of the men’s 100-meter butterfly is very important to China for the men’s mixed catch can not be gold

Italian fan
2 months ago

I don’t understand how his 200 free PB is not quicker.

2 months ago

Pan on his way to create the sub 22-48-1’45-3’45 club

Sacre Bleu!
Reply to  Mclovineta
2 months ago

You mean sub 22-47-1’45-3’45

Because he already swam 46 (his WR)

Reply to  Sacre Bleu!
2 months ago

Think you are detail-oriented & correct.

2 months ago

That’s not very “sprint revolution” of him.

Also crazy that the world record holder in the 100 freestyle would challenge for an Olympic spot in the USA

Philip Johnson
Reply to  thezwimmer
2 months ago

That time would challenge for an Olympic spot for most countries.

Reply to  Philip Johnson
2 months ago

Not Australia and Germany though.

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