Xu Jiayu ran away from the rest of the field to claim the top time in the world in the 100m backstroke at the Chinese Spring National Championships. This meet also serves as the Chinese selection meet for the Asian Games. Placement at this meet and performance at past international meets will be considered when selecting the Asian Games roster.
The first event was the men’s 100 backstroke. Xu Jiayu does not turn 19 until August 25th, which would lower the FINA Jr World Record in the 100m backstroke over a second, however FINA looks at those records based on year of birth, not actual birth date, so he’s just outside of the eligibility period.
He also posted the fastest time in the world this year in the 100m backstroke. His time of 52.34 makes him the second person of the year to break 53 seconds, and moves him ahead of the two Japanese swimmers that were ahead of him in the TYR world rankings. His previous best time of the year was from February where he went 53.42 in Perth. He competed at the London Olympic Games for China in the 200 backstroke but did not advance out of finals with a 2:00.26. With his most recent time drop in this event, he could be a huge asset for China at the Asian Games.
There was a great race in the women’s 400m freestyle. Yi Birong got to the wall in 4:06.18, just tenths ahead of Zhang Yuhan at 4:06.60. Briong’s time elevates her to 10th in the world this year. Mireia Belmonte Garcia and Katie Ledecky have the top times in the world right now at 4:03’s, but there is a large cluster of 5 girls at low 4:06’s.
In the women’s 100 breaststroke, Shi Jinglin added the 9th fastest time in the world this year, winning the event with a 1:07.16. The Asian games will be very competitive; Japan’s top breaststroker of the year, Satomi Suzicki has been 1:07.08 and is sitting 6th in the world.
The men’s 200 butterfly was probably the weakest event of the day, despite a very close race for the win. Zhang Pudong won the 200m butterfly with the 17th fastest time in the world this year at 1:57.33. Hao Yun touched in second with a 1:57.35, which will be the 18th fastest time in the world this year.
Sun Yang is proving he is back in shape after his suspension. In late April his suspension was lifted and he also parted ways with his longtime coach, Zhu Zhigen. This is Sun’s first time competing following his suspension, and he is expected to swim the 200, 400, and 1500m freestyles. Rumors are floating around that Sun Yang will not be swimming the 1500 this weekend, but as of now, he is still telling the media that he will be swimming all of his races. Whether he swims the event this week or not, he should be the favorite to be selected for the Asian games, where he would racing his rivals, Park Tae-Hwan and Kosuke Hagino.
Today, Sun Yang won the 200m freestyle with the fifth fastest time of the year, 1:46.04. His time puts him just behind Hagino (1:45.84) in the world rankings and .01 ahead of Tae-Hwan (1:46.05).
Chinese Spring National Championship/Asian Games Selection Results
Men 100 Back
- Xu Jiayu, Zhejiang 52.34
- (NR) Zhang Yu, Beijing 54.93
- Jin Yan, Sichuan 55.52
Women 400 Free
- Yi Birong, Zhejiang 4:06.18
- Zhang Yuhan, Army 4:06.60
- Xin Xin, Shandong 4:07.04
Women 100 Breast
- Shi Jinglin, Jiangsu 1:07.16
- He Yun, Shannxi 1:08.60
- Zhang Xinyu, Henan 1:08.83
Men 200 Fly
- Zhang Pudong, Navy 1:57.33
- Hao Yun, Hebei 1:57.35
- Zhang Qibing, Shandong 1:58.67
Men 200 Free
- SunYang, Zhejiang 1:46.04
- Li Yunqi, Henan 1:47.74
- Mao Feilian, Zhejiang 1:48.60
Women 4×100 FR
- Shanghai, 3:40.45
- Liaoning, 3:42.49
- Jiangsu, 3:44.46