Top 5 Performances from Day 1 of the FINA Champions Series – Guangzhou


On day 1 of the 2019 FINA World Champions Series, we got the first taste of the star-driven invite-only format that seems poised to conquer the sport one way or another in the coming quad. While the spectacle is the name of the game, there was also a spirit of competitiveness. There were no races that were totally flat or without merit at the meet, which is a good sign as it battles for the attention of swimming fans with the upstart International Swimming League (which has hinted that they’re considering not presenting fans with the times from its meets).

Below are the top 5 performances from the first day of the Champions Series:

1. Xu Jiayu of China Sweeps the Men’s Backstrokes – The schedule for the champions series took a different tact than FINA has used for the World Cup, for example, where they pair the 50 and 200 events of strokes, and leave the 100 on its own on a separate day. Instead, in some cases, similar events were swum on the same day – including the men’s 100 and 200 back. That was no problem for China’s Xu Jiayu, who won both in times of 52.98 and 1:55.24, respectively. He’s been faster this season in the 100 back, but nobody else in the world has been under 53.  His is also the #2 time globally in the 200 back this season, behind only Evgeny Rylov’s 1:54.00 from Russian Nationals.

2. Brazilian Men Scorch 50 Breastsrokes – While there’s somewhat of a cultural shift going on in Brazil via an aging generation of sprinters giving way to a younger group that are more 100/200 oriented, some of that older crew is still hanging on via the 50 meter stroke races. Example: Felipe Lima and Joao Gomes Junior, who went 1-2 in the men’s 50 breaststroke in 26.68 and 26.70, respectively. Both were faster at the Maria Lenk Trophy (they rank #2 and #1 in the world this season), but only Adam Peaty has been faster in 2019 than the times they swam on Saturday.

3. Sarah Sjostrom‘s Double – Separated by only 26 minutes, Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom did enough to pull off a big double on the day – one of only two swimmers who did so (along with China’s Fu Yuanhui – more on her later). First, at 8:40 PM, she swam a 1:57.62 to win the 200 free, which she led wire-to-wire over China’s Li Bingjie. Then, at 9:06, she swam a 57.16 in the 100 fly. While we’re used to seeing her swim fast in-season, and neither swim by itself ranks among the annals of her career highlights, in combination, that’s a stout double.

4. Cate Campbell Goes Sub-52 on a Relay Anchor – Australia’s World Record holder Cate Campbell had perhaps the most unfortunate event draw of anybody at this meet. All 3 of her individual swims – the 50 free, 100 free, and 50 fly – fall on day 2 of the schedule. That means that her first racing of the weekend came late in the evening on Saturday, where she anchored the “Mixed Team 4” mixed medley relay (teams were drawn at random). While that swim didn’t earn her any money, it was a good early sign for her to cash in big on Sunday. All 4 relays anchored with women, and none of the other anchor was faster than 54.9.

5. Fu Yuanhui Grabs Double of Her Own – China’s Fu Yuanhui, a fan-favorite in her home country – gave China another backstroke double. She first won the 100 back in 59.60, and then followed that up with a season-best time of 27.60 in the 50 back (her better event of the two, and the better swim of the two). The latter of those ranks her 2nd in the world this season behind only Brazil’s Etiene Medeiros.



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The Ready Room

52 and 1:55 the same day is astounding.


I would like a top five worst performances of the day article as well please

bear drinks beer

It’s difficult to select only five


Glad I used my Saturday morning to sleep

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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