China’s Zuo Shines With 100 Free Asian Record at Asian Games

By Jason Marsteller

DOHA, Qatar, December 6. NEARING the end of the 15th Asian Games held on Doha, Qatar on Dec. 6, China's Chen Zuo notched the third Asian record of the Asiad with a 49.06 in the 100 free. In the event, he held off Korea's Tae Hwan Park – Swimming World Magazine's Pacific Rim Swimmer of the Year.

In previous action, Park set the first Asian record in the 200 free, while Japan's team of Takamitsu Kojima, Hiroaki Yamamoto, Makoto Ito and Daisuke Hosokawa broke the Asian record in the 400 free relay.

Women's 100 Freestyle
China snagged the top two spots in the women's 100 free when Xu Yanwei claimed gold in 55.02 and her compatriot Pang Jiaying finished with silver in 55.17. Japan's Kaori Yamada completed the top three in 56.29.

Men's 100 Freestyle
The third Asian record of the meet fell as China's Chen Zuo clocked a 49.06 to chop a half-second off his previous Asian standard of 49.56 set on Oct. 17, 2005. That effort put him nearly a second in front of the early star of the Asiad, Korea's Tae Hwan Park (50.02). Japan's Daisuke Hosokawa picked up the final medal with a bronze-winning 50.25.

Women's 200 Breaststroke
China made it two straight top-two sweeps as Qi Hui touched first in 2:23.93 and Luo Nan came up with silver in 2:27.49. Korea's Seul Ki Jung garnered bronze in 2:27.82.

The end was never in doubt as Hui led wire-to-wire, opening a half-second lead at the 50, a second lead at the 100, and nearly a two-second advantage at the 150.

Men's 200 IM
Japan went 1-2 in the 200 IM as Hidemasa Sano cruised into a gold medal with a 2:00.73 clocking, while Ken Takakuwa pocketed silver in 2:01.03. Meanwhile, Korea's Kyu Chul Han nabbed bronze in 2:02.56.

Sano kept Takakuwa in his hip pocket the entire way after building up a .3 second lead in the first 50 meters.

Women's 100 Backstroke
Japan's Reiko Nakamura broke China's string of golds with a win in the 100 back. After staking herself to a half-second advantage in the front half, Nakamura picked up another second and a half to touch in 1:00.82 for the win. China's duo of Xu Tianlongzi (1:01.22) and Zhao Jing (1:01.72) finished second and third, respectively, to close out the podium.

Oddly missing from the meet was Japan's Hanae Ito, who shocked the fans at the Mutual of Omaha Pan Pacific Championships by taking down world record holder Natalie Coughlin of the U.S., with a time of 1:00.63.

Women's 800 Freestyle
Japan's Yurie Yano crushed her competition in the distance freestyle event with a clocking of 8:29.51. The closest finisher behind her proved to be China's Yang Jieqiao's second-place time of 8:38.35. Meanwhile, Yano's countrywoman Maiko Fujino claimed bronze in 8:42.31 ahead of fourth-place finisher Ji Yeon Jung of Korea (8:44.46.).