Zhang Yufei Unleashes 55.47 Fly Split At WUGs, Now Owns Five of Top 10 Fastest Ever


Zhang Yufei finished off an impressive two weeks of racing in style on Monday, adding two more gold medals to her haul at the World University Games while producing one of the fastest 100 butterfly relay splits of all-time.

The Chinese team trailed Poland by nearly three seconds at the halfway mark of the women’s 400 medley relay, but Zhang managed to erase that gap by rocketing to a 55.47 split—under the flat start world record of 55.48—as China ultimately secured the gold medal in a time of 3:59.67.

Zhang’s leg stands up as tied for the eighth-fastest in history, and is faster than what she split at the 2023 World Championships (55.50), which was the quickest in the field.

There have been 12 relay splits right on or under the flat-start world record in the 100 fly, with Zhang owning five of them and WR holder Sarah Sjostrom owning four.

All-Time Relay Splits, Women’s 100 Butterfly (LCM)*

*includes mixed relays

  1. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 55.03 – 2017 World Championships
  2. Maggie MacNeil (CAN), 55.27 – 2021 Tokyo Olympics
  3. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 55.28 – 2015 World Championships
  4. Zhang Yufei (CHN), 55.32 – 2020 Chinese Championships
  5. Zhang Yufei (CHN), 55.39 – 2021 Tokyo Olympics
  6. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 55.43 – 2016 SM/JSM
  7. Zhang Yufei (CHN), 55.44 – 2020 Chinese Championships
  8. Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) / Zhang Yufei (CHN), 55.47 – 2014 European Championships/2023 World University Games
  9. Dana Vollmer (USA) / Rikako Ikee (JPN) / Zhang Yufei (CHN), 55.48 – 2012 Olympic Games/2018 Pan Pacs/2021 Tokyo Olympics

Notably, Zhang produced her 55.47 split with a 0.43 reaction off the blocks, which was the third-slowest in the field.

She won the individual 100 fly earlier in the meet in a Games Record of 56.57, and in the mixed 400 medley relay, her split came in at 56.81.

The 25-year-old finished the World University Games with a staggering nine gold medals, securing wins in the women’s 50 free, 100 free, 50 fly, 100 fly and all five relays she was eligible to contest (women’s 400 and 800 free relay, the 400 medley relay, and the mixed 400 free and 400 medley relays).

That performance came on the heels of a five-medal haul at the 2023 World Championships, which wrapped up just days prior to the start of WUGs. In Fukuoka, Zhang won the women’s 100 fly (56.12) and split 55.69 as China won the mixed medley relay, and she added a silver in the 50 fly and a pair of bronzes in the 50 free and women’s 400 free relay.

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4 months ago

Have no idea how someone can race for literally 2+ weeks straight and somehow go a season PB. The thought of it being the last race must’ve been quite powerful

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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