PHOENIX, Arizona, May 13. CHINA’S men’s national team got a very, very big boost on Monday at the start of the Chinese nationals in Qingdao when Xu Jiayu won the 100 backstroke with a 52.34.
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The time is the ninth-fastest performance in history, and the fastest time in the 100 backstroke since the 2012 Olympics. Xu now leads the world rankings with his new Chinese national record and will be a major force internationally. China often sends a good squad to the Pan Pacific championships, so we might see him racing some of the best that Australia and the US have, but his biggest meet of the year might be the Asian Games in the fall. There, he’ll race Japan’s Ryosuke Irie in what could be an epic 100 backstroke final. Xu missed out on the final of the 100 back at last year’s world championships but 2014, at least so far, appears to be his year.
Congratulations, Xu Jiayu. You’ve earned the Speedo Performance of the Week.