TIANJIN, China, April 17. WORLD 200m breaststroke record-holder Qi Hui, 18, won her third gold medal at the Chinese Nationals in Tianjin, coming from behind in the 200 meters to overtake Luo Xuejuan, world champion in the 100 meters.
Qi trailed Luo through the first 100 meters, but had firm control of the race at the final turn, as LUo's fast early pace took its toll. Qi cruised to victory in 2:25.70, second fastest time in the world this year, while Luo Nan overtook a fading Luo Xuejuan for the silver.
After the race, Qi commented: "My first 100 metesr was too slow. I am not satisfied with the time. Something around 2:24 is expected. I should swim faster."
Qi's world record is 2:22.99 from two years ago. Luo nan, second in 2:26.88, swam 2:24 last year.
Xu Yanwei, winner of five golds at last aOctober's Asian Games, fought off a strong challenge by Yang Yu, better known as a 200 and 400m freestyler to win the 100m free in 55.27 for her fourth title of these natioanls. Yu finished just 6-hundredths of a second later.
Sixteen year-old Zhao Tao took the men's 200m IM in 2:02.05, easily disposing of Li Zhiqiang. In the process, he became the first Chinese male swimmer to qualify for the Athens Olympics.
"It was a magical swim," said the ecstatic Zhao. "It [the time] was beyond my expectations."
In other events, Yu Cheng set a national record of 8:04.44 in winning the men's 800 free, breaking the old record of 8:07.79 set by Wu Peng last year.
Vetearn Ouyang Kunpeng won the 200m backstroke in a pr 1:59.24, beating Yu Rui. The Asian record-holder, wu Peng, 17, was a disappointing fourth (2:02.05).
CHINESE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
April 15-20, 2003
50 meter pool
DAY SIX: April 20, 2003
800 METRES FREESTYLE
1 8:04.44*Yu Cheng, Zhejiang
2 8:05.28 Ji Zhixiang, Jiangsu
3 8:23.20 Zhu Ling, Zhejiang
200 METRES BACKSTROKE
1 1:59.24 Ouyang Kunpeng, Jiangxi
2 2:00.59 Yu Rui, Shanghai
3 2:01.19 Zhou Cong, Jiangsu
200 METRES INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY
1 2:02.05 Zhou Tao, Chinese Navy
2 2:04.09 Li Ziqiang, Jiangsu
3 2:06.29 Liu haitao, Liaoning
100 METRES FREESTYLE
1 55.27 Xu Yanwei, Shanghai
2 55.33 Yang Yu, Zhejiang
3 56.14 Cheng Jiaru, Chinese Army/Guangzhou
200 METRES BREASTSTROKE
1 2:25.70 Qi Hui, Chinese Navy
2 2:26.88 Luo Nan, Liaoning
3 2:28.97 Luo Xuejuan, Zhejiang