QINGDAO, China, May 14. THE Chinese superstars came out to play tonight at the Chinese Nationals in Qingdao as Ye Shiwen and Sun Yang both turned in some sizzilng times to win their respective events.
Ye Shiwen, who has been in tune-up mode for years since her astonishing victory in the women’s 400-meter IM a the 2012 London Olympics, powered her way to a 4:30.84 in the distance medley this evening for the win. That’s a huge step forward for Ye as she focuses on the Asian Games this year, with her time a full two seconds ahead of anyone else in the world. Mireia Belmonte Garcia had owned the previous top time in the SwimVortex rankings of 4:32.92 from Spanish Nationals. Zhou Min placed second in 4:35.69 with Zhang Chen taking third in 4:47.01.
Ye’s time tonight makes a run at her blistering world record of 4:28.43 at least within the realm of reason this summer with the Asian Games ahead of her as she looks to sweep the IM events this summer in Incheon.
Ye’s fellow world-record setting Olympic champion Sun Yang also had a strong night as he clocked a 3:45.12 to win the men’s 400-meter freestyle. Not only did that move him to fifth in the world, it gave him a second title to match his 200 free win from night one. Hao Yun finished second in 3:49.24 with Wang Ke taking third in 3:49.40.
Sun was fired up after his 400-meter free win after some conversation began in local Chinese media that he would be quitting the 1500 free.
“Some people say I would give up the 1500,” Sun said in his mixed zone interview. “I will not give up, not this year or next year where I will fight defending my title.”
Sun definitely seems to be enjoying the chance to speak publicly again after he was muzzled following his arrest for driving without a license last year.
Sun also looks forward to reigniting his Asian rivalry with Tae Hwan Park, since Sun is planning another training trip to Australia where Park also does some training as well. “I do not know if we will me in advance, but I told Park we will meet for the final battle in Korea.”
In other action, Chen Xinyi won the women’s 100-meter fly with a 57.54 for sixth in the world rankings, while Li Xiang took the men’s 200-meter breat in 2:10.84. Fu Yuanhui posted a 27.51 in the women’s 50-meter back to take the top spot in the world, while Zhejiang won the women’s 800-meter free relay in 7:58.93.
More to come when we have full results.