Sun Yang Adds Improved Start To His Talent Arsenal For Budapest


The smooth flowing freestyle mechanics of Olympic champion Sun Yang are universally praised and have served the Chinese swimmer well on the international swimming stage. In Rio alone, Sun nabbed the coveted 200m freestyle gold medal and came close in the 400m freestyle as well, earning silver in the event.

Since Rio, however, the 25-year-old hasn’t been satisfied and has been on the hunt for even more ways to improve his racing. Already possessing a huge weapon in his distance per stroke and overall freestyle efficiency, Sun looked to his race start as an area of improvement.

Reviewing past performances, Sun’s reaction times fall in the .74-.79 range, while fellow 200m freestyle competitors James Guy and Chad Le Clos clock reaction times off the block more towards the .65 target. May seem like a small opportunity, but when racing come down to hundredths, elite athletes seek out any edge no matter how minute.

“I am used to entering the water slowly and trying to catch up from behind over the first half of the course. It’s a waste of strength. If I can just start as quickly as most of my opponents, I sure could swim faster and finish strong,” Sun told China Central Television recently.

At April’s Chinese National Championships, Sun utterly dominated, winning all 5 freestyle events ranging from the 100m to the 1500m. His respective 200m and 400m performances of 1:44.91 and 3:42.16 remain as the world’s top times heading into the 2017 FINA World Championships. As impressive as Sun’s wall-to-wall prowess is, he can easily be pointed to as the last swimmer off the blocks in the 200m distance, per the video below (he’s in lane 4). His launch here is fairly representative of his typical reaction at the start.

Not revealing the actual technique changes that he has made to his start, Sun simply says that he is in ‘great shape’ and ‘pretty confident now’ heading into Budapest.

“The adjustment of my starting technique is part of my preparation. I hope I can test it at big events like the worlds and then hone it to perfection with more intensity in training leading up to Tokyo.”

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Logical Thinker
5 years ago

Why would he be a coach-able athlete and make a technical change when he could just keep doping his way to the top? He’s already so good, plus he’d have so much more time to spend splashing competitors and not showing up for races. Gotta weigh out the options here, this doesn’t seem like a wise investment on his part.

5 years ago

Will he wear the Pink Suit for all his races? Doesn’t the color pink make you weaker?

Reply to  marklewis
5 years ago

He probably thinks it is light red. Red has always been his lucky color since he was a kid. Plus he loves pink.

5 years ago

@Loretta, I think that instead of “His respective 100m and 200m” it should be “His respective 200m and 400m”…thanks!

ice age swimmer
5 years ago

Get ‘im Townley!

Reply to  ice age swimmer
5 years ago

i root for Townley to provide the best challenge ever in the 200 free

5 years ago

Just for fun, I’m picking Park Tae Hwan to win the 400. He might, who knows?

Hater of swimvortex
Reply to  Billy
5 years ago

I think it will take at least 3:41-mid to win, considering Yang already went 3:42.1 with a smooth last 50 at trials. Park has never been under 3:41.5 in his career and I won’t predict a PB for a 27-year-old man in 400m free. But if I’m not putting my money into it, I’d like to pick some underdog to win (maybe Clark Smith), just for fun.

IMs for days
Reply to  Hater of swimvortex
5 years ago

You do realize thorpe and sun are the only people under 3:41.5 in textile, and Sum, while lookimg in great shape thos year, has only done it once.

Hater of Swimvortex
Reply to  IMs for days
5 years ago

I’m sure he has done it at least twice. He put a 3:40.29 in 2011 at Chinese Championships.And he came very close last year.

Hater of Swimvortex
Reply to  Hater of Swimvortex
5 years ago

OK I just checked. Yang has been under 3:41.5 three times. Plus a 3:41.48, also in 2011.

Reply to  IMs for days
5 years ago

I thought Thorpe used a supersuit that also covered his arms?

5 years ago

don’t forget your med’s

Reply to  gordon
5 years ago

Does he have a TUE ? That was all he ever needed .

5 years ago

Keep trolling but he will just keep winning. We all no he has the 2free and 4free under his belt already.

Chris Plack
5 years ago

You got this Sun! Don’t worry about the haters. They have no clue how hard you worked to get to where you are. You earned all the medals you won through hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. You’re the best freestyle swimmer currently, and I can see you bringing home more gold. You don’t need to prove or explain anything for what happened in the past. Keep your eyes on the goal and you’ll achieve it.

Sun Tokyo 2020!

Reply to  Chris Plack
5 years ago

not sure about the best freestyler …..but hey , his stroke is amazing to watch ( same for Clark Smith )

Reply to  Chris Plack
5 years ago

Glad you prefaced a currently in there. Cause Thorpey sh*ts all over this bloke.

Reply to  Kelsey
5 years ago

Let’s see

200 free Thorpe 1:44.06 wearing an almost completely body covering suit

Sun Yang 1:44.5 200 free jammers

Thorpe 3:40.08 again the suit

Sun Yang 3:40.14 and he lifted up his head.
Imo Yang is the superior swimmer (no offense to what Thorpe has done, but he had a killer suit advantage), and nobody is sh*tting on anyone here.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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