Sun Yang Returns To Competition; Xu Jiayu Swims Worlds Fastest 100m Backstroke at Chinese Spring Nationals

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

  1. Xu Jiayu, Zhejiang 52.34
  2. (NR) Zhang Yu, Beijing 54.93
  3. Jin Yan, Sichuan 55.52

Women 400 Free

  1. Yi Birong, Zhejiang 4:06.18
  2. Zhang Yuhan, Army 4:06.60
  3. Xin Xin, Shandong 4:07.04

Women 100 Breast

  1. Shi Jinglin, Jiangsu 1:07.16
  2. He Yun, Shannxi 1:08.60
  3. Zhang Xinyu, Henan 1:08.83

Men 200 Fly

  1. Zhang Pudong, Navy 1:57.33
  2. Hao Yun, Hebei 1:57.35
  3. Zhang Qibing, Shandong 1:58.67

Men 200 Free

  1. SunYang, Zhejiang 1:46.04
  2. Li Yunqi, Henan 1:47.74
  3. Mao Feilian, Zhejiang 1:48.60

Women 4×100 FR

  1. Shanghai, 3:40.45
  2. Liaoning, 3:42.49
  3. Jiangsu, 3:44.46

In This Story

Leave a Reply

10 Comment threads
10 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
13 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Law Dog

Ryan Murphy should take note: there’s a new 18 year old super star backstroker. Hopefully he can respond, but a 52.23 is pretty damn fast.


Never expected this swim from Xu. Massive news for China – if they can find a Breastroker their medley relay suddenly comes into strong contention for a worlds medal.

Sun looks to be in decent shape, but don’t expect anything too fast from him this time round. He’s noted that his aerobic training hasn’t been that optimal recently, which hints at confidence that he can continue to drop more time across his events.

Looking forward to seeing Ning Zetao race. Some monster races last year(splitting 47.3 and 47.4 off relay starts in the EAG) and swam quite well in the BHP series untapered. Might we see the first Asian sub-48 this week?

With some of the sprint freestyle results coming from Japan and this strong backstroke now from China, there could be some outstanding competition on the medley relay come 2016. And watch out for Brazil in the 4×100 free.


China also has 2 sub-52 flyers… a 1:00:31 breaststroker.. I think they already have a very good medley relay now..

About Tony Carroll

Tony Carroll

The writer formerly known as "Troy Gennaro", better known as Tony Carroll, has been working with SwimSwam since April of 2013. Tony grew up in northern Indiana and started swimming in 2003 when his dad forced him to join the local swim team. Reluctantly, he joined on the condition that …

Read More »

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!