Xu Jiayu Posts 1:56.33 200 Back, Li Bingjie 8:20.34 800 Free At Chinese Nationals


Day six of the 2023 Chinese Nationals was highlighted by Chen Juner‘s national record in the men’s 200m fly (1:54.16) and Sun Jiajun‘s Asian record in the men’s 50m breast (26.61) but there were other notable swims tonight as well.

Newly-minted 100m free Asian record holder Pan Zhanle topped the men’s 400m free event, clocking a time of 3:46.40. He comfortably got to the wall over 2 seconds ahead of the rest of the competition, with Zhang Ziyang and Fei Liwei also landing on the podium.

Zhang snagged silver in a time of 3:48.21 while Liwei, the men’s 800m and 1500m free victor here, earned bronze in 3:48.57.

As for Pan, the 18-year-old’s quickest time entering this competition was marked by the 3:47.22 he logged at the Chinese Spring Championships this past March. He was able to slice nearly one second off of that previous outing in just over a month’s time to remain China’s 6th swiftest performer in history.

Also hitting a season-best was Xu Jiayu en route to winning the men’s 200m backstroke. The Olympic medalist put up a podium-topping result of 1:56.33 to rank 6th in the world on the season.

2022-2023 LCM Men 200 Back

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Xu owns the Chinese national record with his PB of 1:53.99 he posted at the 2018 Asian Games. We’ll see him attempt to defend that gold medal this September on his home turf.

The women’s 800m free saw Li Bingjie continue her string of wins in the discipline, as the 21-year-old stopped the clock in 8:20.34 for the gold. That checks in as a season-best for the Olympian, ranking her just outside the top 5 performers on the season.

Earlier in the competition here, Li tied her own Chinese national record of 4:01.08 while winning the 400m free.

Finally, Zhang Yufei topped the women’s 50m fly podium in a time of 25.47 with Yu Yiting securing silver in 25.86 and Wang Yichun rounding out the top 3 finishers in 25.89.

Zhang was slightly faster in March, possessing a season-best of 25.32 to rank 3rd in the world at the moment.

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Andy Hardt
4 months ago

This has been an absolutely insane week for Pan Zhanle, even more than it looks on the surface. As far I can tell, there are now three swimmers who have been sub-47.8 and are in the top 200 swimmers all-time in the 400 (3:48.8 or faster):

Popovici: 46.86, 3:47.99
Milak: 47.47, 3:48.08
Phelps: 47.51, 3:47.79
Pan: 47.22, 3:46.06

Quite the club to join! Even if we extend to sub-48, we’re adding swimmers like Tom Dean and Yannick Agnel, which doesn’t particularly dilute the quality.

Last edited 4 months ago by Andy Hardt
Andy Hardt
Reply to  Andy Hardt
4 months ago

Let me say even more. One way to compare multiple distances at once is to take a geometric mean i.e. sqrt(100m time * 400m time). The result can be interpreted as a 200m time. I’m not calling it a projection per se, but you’ll see it’s not a bad rough guess.

It also means that if athlete A is 1% better in the 100 and athlete B is 1% better in the 400, they would come out as equal.

Here are some of top swimmers (perhaps a leaderboard, or perhaps I’ve missed some)

Biedermann: 1:43.11
Pan: 1:43.32
Popovici: 1:43.36
Thorpe: 1:43.38
Agnel: 1:43.48
Phelps: 1:44.03
Milak: 1:44:05
PVDH: 1:44:08 (missed off the previous… Read more »

Swim Alchemist
Reply to  Andy Hardt
4 months ago

How’s the list if we add the 200m free and go to the (1/3)rd root?

Looks like Phelps has been 3:47.13 in the 400 Free.

Andy Hardt
Reply to  Swim Alchemist
4 months ago

Good catch on Phelps. I’m using this list for top performances, but it seems to be missing some older ones. Is there a more accurate/comprehensive list?

Here’s the corresponding list for the geometric mean of the 100m, 200m, and 400m.

Biedermann: 1:42.74
Popovici: 1:43.23
Agnel: 1:43.37
Phelps: 1:43.57
Thorpe: 1:43.61
Pan: 1:43.76
Dean: 1:44.28
PVDH: 1:44:35
Milak: 1:44:61

Understandably, this helps athletes with great 200m times, and pushes down those with relatively weaker times. Milak is particularly punished because he hasn’t focused on the open 200 very much; he and Phelps are the only non-freestyle-specialists on this list. Pan also slides down quite a… Read more »

Reply to  Andy Hardt
4 months ago

I would say that if you are a former World Record holder, it might not be fair to say that you are a non-freestyle-specialists. Phelps held the World Record in the 200m Free from when he won the 2008 Olympics

Andy Hardt
Reply to  Dan
4 months ago

Not disputing that; was just unclear in my wording. Phelps was absolutely one of the freestyle greats. He wasn’t a freestyle specialist in that he wasn’t focused on that stroke to the exclusion of the others, but perhaps that isn’t how most people use the term.

Reply to  Andy Hardt
4 months ago

Pan said in an interview that he’s still focusing on mid to long distance. He said that he was surprised by his 100 and 200 times.

m d e
Reply to  Andy Hardt
4 months ago

Thorpe best 100 was 48.5 wasn’t it?

Reply to  Andy Hardt
4 months ago

Much shorter list than I would have thought!

Last edited 4 months ago by Koen
4 months ago

Not great results from Li Bingjie

Reply to  Paul
4 months ago

Has there been any further word on Chinese social media regarding the earlier-reported Tang Muhan absence from Nationals?

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Delroy
4 months ago

Comment in another thread mentioned possible positive doping test, though it is just a rumor.

Reply to  Delroy
4 months ago

Positive test is the rumor. He Junyi and coach Zhu Zhigen are also implicated. Could be why China has instituted stricter anti-doping training recently.

Swim Alchemist
4 months ago

For Asian Games, where there’s no semifinals and advancing to finals is much easier, big schedules are ok for these athletes. But for Worlds, probably best to pare it down.

Pan, in my opinion, shouldn’t do the 400 free, for example. He’ll have his hands full with up to 9 (more likely 7, but it’s possible he swims the Mixed Medley) 100 Freestyles and 5 200 Freestyles.

Even Xu Jiayu having up to 7 100 Backstrokes is a lot.

Don’t even want to guess how many swims Zhang Yufei might have!

Swim Alchemist
Reply to  Swim Alchemist
4 months ago

Though, in Xu’s case, I just realized he’s number 6 in the world in the 200 Backstroke. Maybe he should swim it.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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