Disclaimer: Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The Swim of the Week is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.
22-year-old Zhang Yufei hit the world’s best 200 fly time for the season with a 2:05.49 at China’s Long Course Invitational last week.
That was a personal-best for Zhang, knocking seven tenths of a second off the time she went back in 2017. It also set her firmly atop the world ranks, with no other swimmer in the world for the 2020-2021 season under 2:06.8 so far and only three swimmers (all from China) under 2:07.
The 200 fly, in particular, has never returned to the historic levels it hit during the bodysuit era. The 2:01.8 world record (and Chinese record) held by Liu Zige is considered perhaps the toughest record on the books.
But Zhang’s time from last week is the 4th-best swim in the event that we’ve seen since the 2016 Olympics, putting her in elite company heading into the Tokyo Games.