TIANJIN, China, October 10. CHINA rolled during the first night of the East Asian Games in Tianjin this evening. The Chinese women swept their events, while Japan gave the Chinese a bit more fight in the men’s events.
There was some controversy heading into the meet as all of the swimming nations forced an event schedule change the day before the meet began. Originally, meet organizers had scheduled the men’s 100 and 200 fly on the same day (Oct. 14) as well as had the women’s 400 and 800 freestyle events on the same day (Oct. 13) as well.
China opened the night with a 1-2 in the women’s 50-meter breaststroke as Zhao Jin raced to a 31.69, while teammate He Yuzhe clinched second-place honors in 32.09. Japan then went 3-4 in the sprint breaststroke with Maya Hamano taking bronze in 32.11 and Mio Motegi just missing the podium with a fourth-place time of 32.44.
Bai Anqi followed with a second consecutive win for China in 2:12.70, while Korea’s Dasol Im checked in with a second-place time of 2:13.30. Japan’s Yuka Kawayoke snared third-place honors in 2:13.49, while Hong Kong’s Claudia Lau wound up fourth in 2:14.60.
Japan responded in the first men’s race of finals as Yasuhiro Koseki (1:00.52) and Ryota Nomura (1:01.10) raced to a 1-2 finish in the men’s 100 breast in Tianjin. Koseki is a rising star within the breaststroke, having turned in strong times at the World University Games and Japanese Interuniversity Games this summer. China’s Gu Biaorong (1:02.24) and Ma Xiang (1:02.25) placed third and fourth in the finale.
China kept the ball rolling in the women’s events. Tang Yi rocketed to a 54.66 win with a 28.04 final split to overtake teammate Qiu Yuhan (54.77) for the women’s 100 free title. Honk Kong’s Siobhan Bernadette Haughey earned third in 55.06, while teammate Hang Yu Sze took fourth in 56.32.
In a bit of an upset, Wang Shun of China fell to third in the men’s 200 IM this evening with a 1:59.32. He was the heavy favorite coming into this evening, standing fourth in the world in the event this year with a 1:56.86. Teammate Mao Feilian topped the event in 1:58.82, while Japan’s Hiromasa Fujimori placed second in 1:59.29 and teammate Ken Takakuwa finished fourth in 1:59.75.
In one of the most exciting finishes of the night, Japan’s Ko Fukaya touched out China’s Chen Yin, 1:57.81 to 1:57.83, in the men’s 200-meter fly. Fukaya threw down a 29.60 final split to overtake the field. Japan’s Yuta Kimura claimed third overall in 1:58.11, while Taipei’s Chi Chieh Hsu finished fourth in 1:59.58.
China then closed out the night in the men’s 800 free relay with a win. Hao Yun (1:48.61), Li Yunqi (1:49.01), Zhang Jie (1:49.01) and Wang Shun (1:48.62) won the event in a close contest with Japan, 7:!5.25 to 7:15.48. Japan’s foursome was made up of Naito Ehara (1:49.57), Yugo Kawamata (1:48.88), Toru Maruyama (1:49.13) and Chiaki Ishibashi (1:47.90). Korea’s Seokhyun Park (1:52.25), Sangjin Jang (1:51.35), Wonyong Jung (1:53.34) and Kiwoong Nam (1:50.32) claimed bronze with a 7:27.26.