SHAOXING, China, April 2. THE Chinese Long Course Nationals kicked off today in Shaoxing with a stellar level of swimming, including a handful of top five swims.
Chen Yin (1:56.14) and Wu Peng (1:57.16) finished 1-2 in the men's 200 fly, with Chen overtaking Wu down the final 50 meters. Chen's time bettered the FINA A cut of 1:56.86, while Wu was on the outside looking in for an Olympic berth. Chen's performance moved him to fifth in the world behind Nick D'Arcy (1:54.71), Michael Phelps (1:55.32), Joseph Roebuck (1:55.94) and Roberto Pavoni (1:56.10). Wu wound up in a 14th-ranked tie with Pawel Korzeniowski for his swim.
Li Xuanxu raced to victory in the women's 400 IM with a time of 4:34.92, earning fifth in the world and bypassing the FINA A cut (4:41.75) by a wide margin. Only Hannah Miley (4:32.67), Katinka Hosszu (4:32.83), Stephanie Rice (4:33.45) and Mireia Belmonte (4:33.91) have been faster this year. Ye Shiwen finished second in 4:35.17 to earn the second Olympic spot and move to sixth in the world rankings. Zhou Min wound up third in 4:37.83.
Zhang Fenglin clocked a 1:57.39 in the men's 200 back, besting the FINA A cut (1:58.48) and moving to fifth in the world in the process. Ryosuke Irie (1:54.02), Ben Stasiulis (1:56.39), Peter Bernek (1:57.10) and Gareth Kean (1:57.15) are the only men to have been faster this year. Xu Jiayu (1:58.27) and Cheng Feiyi (1:58.36) placed second and third in the event.
Li Xiang won the men's 200 breaststroke in 2:11.67, taking 11th in the world rankings, and clearing the FINA A cut of 2:11.74. That performance also downed the Chinese national record of 2:12.25 previously set by Xue Ruipeng at the 2010 Asian Games. Li placed fourth in the world last year in Shanghai. Chen Cheng placed second in 2:11.76, also under the former record but just outside of the FINA A cut, while Lai Zhongjian finished third in 2:12.45.
Lu Ying topped the women's 50 fly finale with a 26.42. That swim moved her to eighth in the world rankings. Jiao Liuyang took second in 26.75, while Zhu Wenrui placed third in 26.89.
The women's 400 free relay closed out the first day of swimming as Pang Jiaying, Zhu Qianwei, Lu Ying and Yi Tang of Shanghai won in 3:41.93.