Chinese Long Course Nationals: Sun Yang Posts World-Leading Time; Cheng Feiyi Downs Chinese Record

SHAOXING, China, April 3. THE second day of competition at the Chinese Long Course Nationals featured a media scrum looking for any tidbit to be found from Chinese superstar Sun Yang.

Sun cruised to the top time in the world this year with a 3:42.31 to capture the men's 400 freestyle victory, and a spot on the 2012 Olympic squad. That swim bettered his previous top time this year of 3:42.89 from Australia in January, but is well off his incredible lifetime best of 3:40.29 from the 2011 Chinese Summer Nationals. This will be Sun's second Olympic appearance after taking eight in the 1500 free and 28th in the 400 free at the 2008 Beijing Games. As the swimming community already knows, he vaulted to the top of the distance freestyle mountain with a breakout 2010 and 2011 including shooting down Grant Hackett's hallowed world record in the men's 1500 free at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai.

Hao Yun raced to second in 3:46.01, eclipsing the FINA A cut of 3:48.92 and securing the second spot on the Olympic team. That swim came up short of his personal best of 3:45.69 from Australia in January, but Hao likely did not mind after earning a spot on the Olympic roster.

Li Yunqi finished third in the middle distance affair with a 3:49.12, while reigning Olympic silver medalist Zhang Lin missed out on the chance to defend that medal in London with a fourth-place 3:49.14. Zhang had been in the thick of the race with Sun through 300 meters, but faded down the stretch.

A media onslaught occurred following the race, as Sun spoke with reporters on a variety of topics. His standard response being that he cannot set a world record every time he swims, and that he couldn't care less about his swimming rivals as he just focuses on his own swims. The media looked to want to get Sun on record about Zhang's surprising Olympic miss in the men's 400 free, and wanted to get him talking about Korean rival Tae Hwan Park.

Wu Peng captured the men's 50 fly title in 23.72, moving into a 10th-place tie in the world rankings this year. Zhou Jiawei placed second this evening in 23.84 for 21st in the world rankings. Qi Bin earned third in 24.04.

Shao Yiwen claimed the women's 400 free title in 4:05.88 to move to ninth in the world rankings, and securing a spot on the Olympic roster by clearing the FINA A cut of 4:09.35. Xin Xin placed a close second in 4:05.93 to earn the second placed on the Olympic roster and 10th in the world. Zhou Lili finished a distant third in 4:08.64.

Ye Shiwen captured the women's 200 IM crown in 2:09.43, the second-fastest time in the world this year, and easily qualified her for the Olympics. Only Stephanie Rice has been faster with a 2:09.38, while Caitlin Leverenz (2:09.71) and Alicia Coutts (2:09.83) are the only other swimmers to have bettered 2:10 thus far this year. Zheng Rongrong placed second in 2:12.18 to also make the Olympic team, and move to 11th in the world. Li Jia wound up third in 2:13.17.

Cheng Feiyi lowered the Chinese record in the men's 100 back with a 53.67, becoming the first man from China under 54 seconds. Ouyang Kunpeng owned the previous record with a 54.09 from 2005. Cheng vaulted to 29th in the all time rankings with the swim, and moved to sixth in the world this year. Cheng also earned a spot at the Olympics with his victory by clearing the FINA A cut. He Jianbin took second in 54.25, just making the Olympics with his swim, whlie Lin Yongqing finished third in 55.27.

Tang Yi grabbed the women's 100 free title in 53.71 to move to fourth in the world with her swim, and bested the FINA A cut in the event to earn a bid to the Olympics. Qiu Yuhan placed a distant second in 55.04, while Hai Bing touched third in 55.18 – both missing out on individual swims in the Olympics.

Beijing's men's 400 free relay squad won the event in 3:19.01, while Shanghai took second in 3:20.62.