Yiwen Shao Goes 4:04 in 400 Free at Chinese Inter-City Champs

On day two at the 2011 Chinese Inter-City Championships in Nanchang, China – a meet designed to identify the country’s youth talent – the ridiculously fast times continued. Yesterday, after Ye Shiwen’s 4:33 in the 400 IM, one might have expected that the meet was hitting an early precipice, and would be downhill for the rest of the week. But that’s not true at all, as the Chinese juniors continued to light up the pool.

Keep in mind, as you read the recap, the context that these are 18 & under boys and 17 & under girls.

Yiwen Shao won the girls 400 free in 4:04.86, and while she was faster at Chinese Nationals in September, consider that this is about her 4th taper in a 7-month period, and that swim is the 15th-best (individual race) in the world this year. The time is more than four seconds better than she was at Worlds, despite that being her first swim of the meet. Hard to explain her performance in Shanghai (aside from the fact that she was only 15 at the time, on the first day of competition, in front of a home crowd – that’s a lot of pressure). But, I digress.

Li Xuanxu took 2nd in 4:07.73, which though a solid time was a bit of a letdown for a swimmer who took three gold medals at the last edition of this meet in 2007. Chen Shiyun took 3rd in 4:08.18, and by comparison, the United States’ top junior (Gillian Ryan), who won gold at the Pan Ams last night in this event, would have been lucky to place in the top 5 of China’s junior meet.

In the girls 100 fly, Sun Mengyue won in 59.72 as the only swimmer in the field to break a minute. She was quite a bit faster at Chinese Nationalsm, where she took 2nd place in under 59 seconds, but this is still a solid performance as a follow-up meet.

In the boys 100 breaststroke, Li Tianhao put up what is easily his best time in 1:01.83 That’s on par with the top American juniors like Kevin Cordes and Matt Elliott. Li is a pure-spring specialist, and it’s a nice to see him developing a solid 100 as he ages and grows more physically mature.

Top Three from Each Event

Girls 400 free
Shao Yiwen 4’04″86
Li Xuanxu 4’07’73
Chen Shiyun 4’08″18

Girls 100 fly
Sun Mengyue 59″72
Yu Yue 1’00″03
Li Tingting 1’00″20

Boys 100 breast
Li Tianhao 1’01″83
Mao Feilian 1’03″50
Wang Chao 1’03″52

Boys 4×100 FR
Guangzhou 3’21″46
Nanjing 3’22″31
Minhang 3’22″37

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Sun Mengyue’s after-race interview is kinda funny: Sun (on the race): Before the race, I told my teammate, Li Tianhao (boy’s 100m breast champion). Mine is the 1st gold and yours is 2nd gold. You’ve got to be confident… Sun (introduced herserlf): 2 years ago, I ranked outside 30th in the national games Q: What’s the secret of winning the gold this time? Sun: No secret at all. I just “picked up” the gold because all other swimmers born before 1994 are ineligible to compete. Q: Joined the national team yet? Sun: Haven’t thought of that yet. I just swam a pb in September (in the nationals) but still lost to Lu Ying. Q: Any regrets (from losing to Lu)?… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. 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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