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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5 years ago

Can’t be excited about sun yang’s races, aside form his multiple doping scandals, his conduct outside of the pool is deplorable.

Great swim by Haas, sky is gonna be the limit with him in the future

Reply to  Marc
5 years ago

Sun yang is the man. I love his swimming style. So smooth. One of the greatest freestylers ever. I wonder what he can put out in the 800 free

Ab Ramirez
5 years ago
Chris Plack
5 years ago

Thanks for the upload. Love watching Sun swim. What a great last 100m. Sun makes it look so easy.

IMs for days
5 years ago

I thing part of the reason the event has slowed down is that people are going way to fast the first 100. Kozma, Guy, and Haas all went out under 24.4. 24.4 is Agnel 1:43.1 pace.

When phelps went 1:43 in textile he went out in 51.00 and came back in 52.86. When thorpe went 1:44.06 he was out in 51.45 and came back in 52.61. Agnel went out in 50.64 and came back in 52.50 in his 1:43.14. Then you got people like Guy, who went out in 50.57 and came back in 54.79.

Phelps second 100 was 3.65% slower than his first
Thorpes second 100 was 2.25% slower than his first
Agnels second 100 was… Read more »

Distance Swimmer
Reply to  IMs for days
5 years ago

A lot easier said than done, Le Clos last year was out 23.3 in the 200 and went 1:45.2, its all strategy to win, not necessarily to go 1:42

Reply to  IMs for days
5 years ago

I made a similar comment in the finals recap for today. I believe you are correct

Reply to  IMs for days
5 years ago

Excellent analysis!

James Guy
Reply to  IMs for days
5 years ago

Yeah.. Gave it to much on that front half and paid for it on the back end.. Lesson learnt!!

5 years ago

Yesterday my son just told me he saw Sun Yang took quick breathes on both sides right after each turn in 400M. I observed the same breath pattern in today’s 200M. This is so unconventional. Any comments on this?

Reply to  Bobthebuilder
5 years ago

Maybe he finds that the extra oxygen is more efficient for him.

Reply to  Swimmer?
5 years ago

Our club coach has been strict with having no breath for the first stroke after the underwater kick from wall, particularly for 200M. That’s gonna affect momentum from wall. Sun Yang’s breathing pattern is exactly opposite to what we have been practicing. I see it might be helpful for distance swim. For 200M, this is really interesting!

Reply to  Bobthebuilder
5 years ago

Sun Yang is extremely unconventional with his breathing. Yang swims the way he does because it works for him. Doesn’t mean it’ll work for your son. Listen to your coach.

Reply to  Bobthebuilder
5 years ago

Ledecky does the same thing. Heard an interview with Gemmell where he said it was a decision they agreed upon because she depends so much on her aerobic system. Her and Sun are pretty similar swimmers, in that they both have great freestyle range, so it’s possible he and his coach came to the same conclusion.

Reply to  sven
5 years ago

Actually, Ledecky’s breath is slightly different. She does a double breath *before* the turn, rather than after it. Misread the original comment, sorry.

samuel huntington
5 years ago

doper, fast time but can’t ignore that fact.

5 years ago

Sun… just hard to buy anything from this guy. Trains in secret. Dope tests in secret.

5 years ago

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.

Reply to  Crawler
5 years ago

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

Reply to  Crawler
4 years ago

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.

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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