Sun Yang Qualifies 1st in Pursuit of First 200 Free Asian Games Gold

Swimming at the 2018 Asian Games

Day 1 of the swimming competition at the 2018 Asian Games kicked off Sunday morning in Jakarta, Indonesia, with China dominating the early action.

After winning the most total medals (47, 1 more than Japan), and most gold medals (22, 10 more than Japan) at the 2014 edition, the Chinese are poised for another big medal haul after the first session of the meet.

Men’s 200 Free – Prelims

China’s Sun Yang began his quest for a first Asian Games 200 free gold on Sunday morning after taking silver at both the 2010 and 2014 editions of the meet.

He swam a 1:47.58 in prelims, just edging ahead of Jordan’s Khader Baqlah, who is trained in the U.S. at the University of Florida, who qualified 2nd in 1:47.60. Baqlah just missed his own National Record of 1:47.53, done at the Arab Championships in July. Jordan has never won a medal in swimming at the Asian Games.

Japan’s pair of Naito Ehara (1:47.76) and Katsuhiro Matsumoto (1:47.94) joined them under 1:48.

Sun has been 1:45.15 this year, and Matsumoto was 1:45.92 at last year’s Pan Pac Championships, so the prelims heat seemed to be mostly controlling energy for the favorites in the race.

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Sun Yang, China, 1:47.58
  2. Khader Baqlah, Jordan, 1:47.60
  3. Naito Ehara, Japan, 1:47.76
  4. Katsuhiro Matsumoto, Japan, 1:47.94
  5. Welson Sim, Malaysia, 1:48.47
  6. Hojoon Lee, South Korea, 1:48.49
  7. Xinjie Ji, China, 1:48.85
  8. Quy Phuoc Hoang, Vietnam, 1:49.68

Women’s 200 Backstroke – Prelims

China’s Liu Yaxin and Peng Xuwei took the top two qualifying spots in the women’s 200 back prelims, in 2:09.52 and 2:11.32, respectively. This is the 19-year old Liu’s first crack at the Asian Games, and she was a 2:08 at the China National Game at the very beginning of the season in September.

At least 1 Japanese swimmer (and usually 2) has medalled in this event at the Asian Games in every year it’s been offered, dating back to 1978. That includes winning gold at 4 of the last 5 editions. They didn’t qualify a swimmer in the top 3 in the event in Sunday morning’s prelims. South Korea’s Dasol Im (2:12.24) bumped Sayaka Akase (2:12.25) and Natsumi Sakai (2:12.25) out of those spots in the heats. Akase is the defending champion in the event.

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Liu Yaxin, China, 2:09.52
  2. Xuwei Peng, China, 2:11.39
  3. Dasol Im, South Korea, 2:12.24
  4. Sayaka Akase, Japan, 2:12.25
  5. Natsumi Sakai, Japan, 2:12.30
  6. Toto Kwan To Wong, Hong Kong, 2:15.98
  7. Nurul Fajar Fitriyati, Indonesia, 2:18.64
  8. Roxanne Ashley Yu, Philippines, 2:19.12

Men’s 100 Backstroke – Prelims

Xu Jiayu of China, the second-fastest man in the history of the 100 back, cruised through prelims of the event without too much strain in 53.60. That put him ahead of the two-time defending champion Ryosuke Irie in his bid to break a streak of 4-straight titles in the event for Japan.

The Japanese have also won 14 out of the last 16 gold medals in this race, and have won the maximum 2 medals in all but the first edition of the Asian Games, in 1951. They earned 2 of the top 4 qualifying spots in prelims on Sunday; besides Irie, Masaki Kaneko qualified 4th in 54.81. China’s 2nd swimmer, Li Guangyuan, split the Chinese.

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Xu Jiayu, China, 53.60
  2. Ryosuke Irie, Japan, 53.85
  3. Li Guangyuan, China, 54.34
  4. Masaki Kaneko, Japan, 54.81
  5. Juho Lee, South Korea, 55.03
  6. Paul Ngyuen, Vietnam, 55.47
  7. I Gede Siman Sudartawa, Indonesia, 55.47
  8. Srihari Nataraj, India, 55.86

Women’s 100 Breaststroke – Prelims

After China controlled the early races on Sunday morning, the Japanese women’s breaststrokers fought back late in the session, including a 1-2 qualifying from Satomi Suzuki (1:06.92) and Reona Aoki (1:07.24) in the women’s 100 breaststroke.

The time for Suzuki is four-tenths shy of her 4th-place performance at Pan Pacs, while Aoki added about 9-tenths from the Tokyo-hosted meet that ended a week ago, where she took bronze.

China’s Jinglin Shi rounded out the top-3 qualifiers in 1:07.68, followed by Jamie Yeung from Hong Kong (1:07.86) and the other Chinese swimmer Yu Jingyao (1:08.52). Yeung’s swim is just .17 seconds slower than Yvette Kong’s Hong Kong Record set in 2016.

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Satomi Suzuki, Japan, 1;06.92
  2. Reona Aoki, Japan, 1:07.24
  3. Shi Jinglin, China, 1:07.68
  4. Jamie Yeung, Hong Kong, 1:07.86
  5. Jingyao Yu, China, 1:08.52
  6. Hyejin Kim, South Korea, 1:08.64
  7. Jinq Phee, Malaysia, 1:08.83
  8. Suyeon Back, South Korea, 1:09.08

Men’s 200 Fly – Prelims

Japan popped another 1-2 finish in the men’s 200 fly to close the session’s individual races, with Daiya Seto qualifying 1st in 1:57.23 and Nao Horomura qualifying 2nd in 1:58.06. Seto won the 200 fly at Pan Pacs in 1:54.34, and was the silver medalist at last year’s World Championship. At the other end of the spectrum from the veteran Seto is the 19-year old Horomura, who is ranked 2nd in the world thanks to a 1:53.79 at the Japanese Championships in April – but who did not race at Pan Pacs.

India’s Sajan Prakash qualified 3rd in 1:58.12, which is just .04 shy of his Indian Record in the event set in Malaysia in May. India has medaled in the last two Asian Games, though 6 of their 9 all-time medals came at the initial edition, hosted in New Delhi, in 1951, where China didn’t participate, Japan didn’t participate in swimming, and Singapore, the Philippines, and India combined to win all 24 medals offered.

China’s top two qualifiers, Li Zhuhao (1:58.21) and Wang Zhou (1:58.71) took 4th and 5th. Zheng Quah, who trains in the U.S. at Cal, qualified 7th in 1:59.17 representing  Singapore.

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. Daiya Seto, Japan, 1:57.23
  2. Nao Horomura, Japan, 1:58.06
  3. Sajan Prakash, India, 1:58.12
  4. Li Zhuhao, China, 1:58.21
  5. Wang Zhou, China, 1:58.71
  6. Wang Kuanhung, Taiwan, 1:58.73
  7. Chenz Quah, Singapore, 1:59.17
  8. Junghung Park, South Korea, 2:00.57

Women’s 400 Free Relay – Prelims

In what was mostly a warmup swims for the nations hoping to contend for medals in the women’s 400 free relay, China (3:40.32) and Japan (3:42.47) easily separated themselves from the field in prelims. Hong Kong qualified 3rd in 3:45.45.

China’s best split came from Liu Xiaohan, who was 54.73 on their 3rd leg as part of an all-teenage relay (she’s only 16). Japan didn’t have anybody split better than 55, but should be able to swap in Rikako Ikee for finals to help make up the ground on China.

Battling for bronze with Hong Kong w ill be Singapore (3:45.99), Thailand (3:46.98), and maybe South Korea (3:47.91).

Top 8 Qualifiers:

  1. China, 3:40.32
  2. Japan, 3:42.47
  3. Hong Kong, 3:45.45
  4. Singapore, 3:45.99
  5. Thailand, 3:46.98
  6. South Korea, 3:47.91
  7. Indonesia, 3:52.49
  8. Macau, 3:59.49

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5 years ago

No Joe Schooling in the 200 butterfly?

5 years ago

I presume there are no semi-finals…as the depth in Asia is obviously limited (8th place w200back 2.19, W210breast 1.09, M100back 55.86 for example)..

Reply to  Torchbearer
5 years ago

I feel sorry for Chinese and Japanese swimmers if there was really semifinal before final in the Asian Games 😀
Yeah in asia’s swimming there’s limited depth. But compare to last asian games (2014) it is improving.
8th place in prelim:
W200m back: 2:16.30 (2014) —— 2:19.02 (2018)
W100m breast: 1:11.62 —— 1:09.08
W400m free relay: 4:40.01 —— 3:59.49
M200m free: 1:51.08 —— 1:49.58
M100m back: 56.74 —— 55.86
M200m fly: 2:03.89 —— 2:00.57

5 out of 6. I think we go to the right direction. 😀

Reply to  Wirotomo
5 years ago

Great to see- thanks for the stats…..

Reply to  Wirotomo
5 years ago

Agreed thanks

5 years ago

Americans: It’s so difficult for us to double taper and hit best times twice in two weeks.
Japanese: Hold my beer.

j pine
5 years ago

Singapore doing things in the relays 👌🏻 They seem to have improved immensely

Reply to  j pine
5 years ago

Very surprising morning heats swim from a squad that is missing Quah Ting Wen (likely to be swopped in for the final). 2nd fastest textile swim. If she comes in and HK doesn’t have Haughey, it’ll be a very very close battle for bronze. Who knows, the girls may bring the first relay medal everyone thought would be coming from the guys

Reply to  ice
5 years ago

Any idea of the order of swimmers for the Singapore team in the final? The website lists Nur Marina, Ching Hwee, Roanne and Christie but I saw Jing Wen, Ting Wen, Christie and Ching Hwee.

Reply to  SLSR
5 years ago

website is updated now. Jing, Ting, Christie and Cherlyn.

j pine
5 years ago

It’s Zheng Quah… not Chenz Quah

5 years ago

Horomura was in the B Final at the PanPac.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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