Sun Yang Swims 1:44.39 for Asian Record, WC Gold 2Free (Race Video)


Report via James Sutherland. Video via Olympic Channel.

Despite being the lone man in the field who swam the 800 prelims this morning, China’s Sun Yang pulled away in the men’s 200 free final to win gold in a new Asian and Chinese national record of 1:44.39. Sun lowers his previous record of 1:44.47, set at the 2013 Chinese National Games.

Sun is the reigning Olympic gold medalist in the event, but this is his first 200 free World title. After posting the fastest split (1:43.16) in the 4×200 free relay at the 2013 World Championships, a time nearly a full second ahead of the individual gold medal winning time, Sun added the event to his international schedule. He won silver behind Great Britain’s James Guy at the 2015 World Championships.

The 25-year-old now owns nine World Championship titles across four different events. He won the 400 free earlier in the competition on day 1, clearing the field by over two seconds.

Tonight in the final he was out much faster than the semis, but still sat in just 6th place. After moving into the lead with a 26.35 third leg, Sun was solid coming home in 26.94 to win decisively. Up and coming American Townley Haas won his first individual World Championship medal with the silver in 1:45.04, and Russian Aleksandr Krasnykh was the only one other than Sun to close sub-27 (26.97) to take bronze in 1:45.23.

After leading at the 100m mark, defending champion Guy ended up 5th in 1:45.36, just behind fellow Brit Duncan Scott (1:45.27).

Sun leapfrogs Ryan Lochte as the 6th fastest performer in the history of the event.


2 Michael Phelps 1:42.96
3 Yannick Agnel 1:43.14
4 Danila Izotov 1:43.90
5 Ian Thorpe 1:44.06
6 Sun Yang 1:44.39
7 Ryan Lochte 1:44.44
8 Park Tae Hwan 1:44.80
9 Pieter Van Den Hoogenband 1:44.89
10 Dave Walters 1:44.95

Moving forward, Sun qualified into the 800 free final set for tomorrow night, where he’s the three-time defending champion. He’ll also swim the 1500 individually later in the meet.

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Will anyone touch PAUL BIEDERMANN and the absolutely blazing fast 1:42.00? The idea that the current WC Gold medalist was 2 seconds behind is astonishing, especially considering the records from 2009 are nearing a decade old.


he only broke Thorpe’s record by .01 which shows you how ahead-of-his-time Thorpe was. That 400m swim hasn’t been approached since. Can you imagine a 20yr old WR in swimming?

Lennart van Haaften

It has been approached. Sun himself came to within 0.07 seconds, with his 3:40.14 in the Olympic final of 2012. I wonder if he can reach that level again.


Thorpe was a legend, no doubt…but let’s not forget that he wore a custom-made full body suit from Adidas that is no longer legal. It’s not quite the same as the craziness from 2009 era, but it certainly gives an edge over the jammers that Sun Yang, Townley Haas, et al are wearing these days.

Lennart van Haaften

But didn’t Thorpe swim a 3:41 in briefs at age 16? He would have done just fine without those suits, although a few tenths slower maybe.


I’ve also heard rumors that his suit made other swimmers slower when they tried that bodysuit. Just goes to further my point above that we really have no idea what effect they had.


I think that often gets lost in the suit discussion. We really have no accurate idea about how much of a difference any of them made. World record progression might give some indication, but it’s very far from conclusive. And there were so many variations. Everyone thinks about the arena and jaked in Rome 2009, but the fs1 bodysuit came out almost 10 years before that, and I remember my fs1 feeling quite bouyant. I think textile best is not as useful a standard as it’s often held out to be.


I remember his 400 world record, where he was way behind Thorpe’s time at the 350 but had a blazing last 50. The suits really distorted performances with swimmers having a lot more in the tank or a lot less lactic acid so that they could kick very hard at the end.


Great time by *, however I find it difficult to be enthusiastic about the performances of athletes with a doping violation. I can only begin to imagine the sour taste the efforts of doped athletes leave in the mouths of their fellow competitors.

It’s time for life suspensions for doping violations to protect the credibility of sports. I was in Rio last year and witnessed the jeers dished out to doped athletes. Tragic, yet avoidable.


Just one question why would he doped in a Chinese national competition where no one came even close to him?

Lane Four

I back you all the way, LUCY. I saw enough cheating with the East Germans (1970s/1980s) and Chinese from the late 80s into the 90s to ignore someone telling you to “chill out”. Don’t chill out out. Stick to your guns. You have swimmers and coaches and fans dating back to the 1970s all the way to the present who support your viewpoint.


Lol fam chillout.


Where could ups Agnel be today if he regained his form and desire? The 200 free is one event which hasn’t progressed in years, and it is not just the fault of the suits.


It was because of the death of Muffat. RIP. They both had great futures ahead of them, but after that-event, he took a long break and stopped training, and when he came back he didn’t come back with the same intensity and willpower. He could be at 1:42 mid right now if he regained everything and saw everyone today. With such rich fields like this, he wouldn’t be alone bodylengths ahead.


Agnel was so impressive in London. Not sure why he faded so early. He is the same age as Yang.

About Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht grew up in Kansas and spent most of her childhood trying to convince coaches to let her swim backstroke in freestyle sets. She took her passion to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and swam at NAIA Nationals all four years. After graduating in 2015, she moved to …

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