Li Bingjie Equals 400 Free Asian Record for Third Chinese Nationals Gold

LI-Bingjie-CHN 800m Freestyle Women Heats Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates 17/12/2021 Etihad Arena FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) Photo Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Photo Courtesy: Andrea Staccioli / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Li Bingjie Equals 400 Free Asian Record for Third Chinese Nationals Gold

Li Bingjie made it three gold medals in three days at the Chinese National Championships, equaling her Asian record in the 400 free in the process.

Li swam 4:01.08 on Wednesday, the third day of the meet in Hangzhou. It is dead even with the time she swam at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 to win a bronze medal, a Chinese and Asian record. The swim is also Li’s third win of the week, to go with the 200 free and 1,500 free. She set the world record in this event in the short-course pool last fall.

Second was Ma Yonghui in 4:05.92, .06 up on Yang Peiqi.

That’s three Asian record in as many days of competition at the Fusu Technology Cup 2023 at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Swimming Hall. It’s also another installment in the continuing growth of the Chinese freestyle program.

The women’s 100 free showed its depth Wednesday, won by Cheng Yujie in 53.26 seconds. Second was Yang Junxuan in 53.87, with Zhang Yufei third in 53.95. They were followed by three of the members of the Tokyo Olympic 400 free relay – in order, Wu Qingfeng, Zhu Menghui and Ai Yanhan – that finished seventh and set an Asian record. China was fourth at Worlds in the 400 free relay in Budapest last year, though the squad of Zhang, Zhu, Yang and Cheng were nearly three seconds off the U.S.’s bronze-medal pace.

The other women’s event went to Peng Xuwei, who clocked in at 2:07.11 to win the 200 backstroke. She was nearly three seconds clear of runner-up Liu Yaxin. Peng is closing in on a long-held national and Asian record, set in 2010 by Zhao Jing at 2:06.46. (The 20-year-old has been 2:06.55 at age 14 but hasn’t quite gotten back to that speed.)

On the men’s side, Wang Shun completed the IM double by winning the 400 in 4:13.96. It’s about five seconds off his best time, set all the way back in 2013. Tao Guannan and Zhang Zhanshou tied for second. The 1,500 free went to 19-year-old Fei Liwei. His time was 14:46.59, some 14 seconds under the Olympic A cut, for a talented teenager who last year set the national mark in the short-course 800 free.

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