HUANGSHAN, China, September 18. SUN Yang, not surprisingly, was the showcase swimmer of the first day of competition today at the Chinese long course nationals as a few of his Olympic teammates also made headlines in their best events.
Sun started his meet with a victory in the 200 freestyle, in a time of 1:45.94, not far off the 1:44.93 he swam to win the silver medal at the London Olympics. Placing second in the race was Qi Liyun with a 1:48.40, and Pu Wenjie placed third with a 1:49.54.
A couple of Olympic finalists swam well below standard today in their chief events and surprisingly did not make the finals today. Zhao Jing, the reigning world champion in the 100 backstroke, missed the top eight in this event today, allowing Zhou Yanxin to win with a 1:01.12, Fuyuan Hui to place second with a 1:01.22 and Liu Xiang to place third with a 1:01.45.
Liu Zige, the world record holder and 2008 Olympic champion in the 200 butterfly, missed out on that final today, placing 13th overall. Gong Jie, whose best time of the year is a 2:05.38 from April, won the event with a 2:07.58. Harth Nian finished second with a 2:09.60, while Zhu Jiani was third in 2:10.27.
Cheng Feiyi, a finalist in the 100 backstroke in London, had no difficulty getting into the final today at nationals, winning with a 54.30. Cheng was eighth in the Olympics with a 53.77. He Jianbin turned ahead of Cheng at 50 meters and almost hung on to win a national title, but settled for second with a 54.35. Win Chui also made the race close with a 54.70 for third place.
Ma Xiang won the men’s 100 breast with a 1:01.41, with Wang Shuai placing second with a 1:02.16. Huang Kun was third in 1:02.23.
Liu Xiaoyu took the women’s 50 breast national title with a time of 31.58, as Zhao Jin finished second with a 31.73. Placing third was Zhang Hongtao with a 32.40.
Olympic champion and world record holder Ye Shiwen elected not to swim the women’s 400 individual medley today. Pang Wenyin captured the national title in the event today with a 4:40.34, ahead of Zhou Min’s second-place time of 4:41.76. Chen Xinyi finished third with a 4:42.49.