QINGDAO, China, May 16. XU Jiayu is the newest rising star in Chinese swimming after sweeping the backstroke titles at the Chinese Nationals this week in Qingdao.
After already claiming the 50 and 100 backstroke titles in record times, he did it again with a blazing time of 1:55.11 to win the men’s 200-meter backstroke in meet-record fashion. The performance shot him to third in the SwimVortex world rankings behind only Ryosuke Irie (1:53.91) and Kosuke Hagino (1:54.23). He will get a shot at both of those top Japanese backstrokers at the Asian Games later this summer as he looks to take over the crown as best Asian backstroker in the world. Li Guangyuan placed well back in second tonight in 1:59.15 with Shi Yi taking third in 1:59.76.
Xin Xin vaulted to sixth in the world rankings in the women’s 800-meter free with an 8:25.35, while Bi Yirong moved to seventh in the world with a second-place time of 8:26.49 this evening. The duo still has some ground to make up to challenge for the top of the heap currently held with an 8:18.36 by Jazmin Carlin from British Nationals, but they definitely put up some strong times tonight. Xu Danlu wound up third in 8:38.27.
Shi Yang clipped Zhang Qibin by the slimmest of margins in the men’s 50-meter fly tonight, 23.94 to 23.95, while Sun Xiaolei rounded out what was an exciting top three finish with a 23.97 in the sprint fly finale.
Suo Ran checked in with a 31.57 to top the women’s 50-meter breaststroke finale tonight, while He Yuzhe finished second in 31.66. Shi Jinglin raced her way to third in the event with a 31.75 with Liu Xiaoyu (31.85) and Zhang Jiaying (31.95) also clearing 32 seconds in the finale.
Yu Hexin took home the men’s 100-meter free title in 49.25 with Hao Yun earning second in 49.67. Xu Qiheng matched Liu Zhaochen for third with 49.91s.
The Marine Army team of Wang Ruiqi, Suo Ran, Sun Negyue and Liu Yiru topped the women’s 400 medley relay tonight in 4:06.37.