Pan Zhanle Scares Chinese Record in 200 Free with 1:44.65

chinese-ZHANG Yufei CHN Women's 200m butterfly heats Swimming Men's 4x100m freestyle final Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates 17/12/21 Etihad Arena FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) Photo Giorgio Perottino / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Zhang Yufei; Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Perottino / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Pan Zhanle Scares Chinese Record in 200 Free with 1:44.65

Pan Zhanle came within a half-second of his second Chinese record of the week at Chinese Nationals with a time of 1:44.66 on Thursday.

Zhanle was near the record set by Sun Yang at 1:44.39 in 2017. That’s also the Asian record. Zhanle earlier this week set the national and continental records in the 100 free.

The 200 free was a duel between stars present and future, with Zhanle and Wang Shun. Wang, the reigning 200 IM Olympic champ, finished second in 1:45.71. Hong Jinquan took third. He was one of four swimmers under 1:47 for a program seeking to improve its 800 free relay after finishing ninth in the event at the Tokyo Olympics.

Thursday was the fourth day of the six day Fusu Technology Cup 2023 at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Swimming Hall but the first to pass without a national record in the pool. It still included fast times.

Zhang Yufei won the 100 butterfly in 56.48 seconds. That’s within a second of the time she used to win a silver medal in Tokyo (55.64). Yu Yiting was second in 57.51, with Wang Yichun third. All three times are under the Olympic A cut. There was depth even behind that, with Zhang Yifan fourth and Li Bingjie, apparently bored after freestyle wins each of the meet’s first three days, taking sixth.

Yu had a busy evening in showcasing her incredible range. The teenager turned around to win the 400 individual medley in 4:35.61. That’s an IM double for Yu at this meet. Ge Chutong was second, with Ye Shiwen a distant third.

Thursday’s session was busier on the women’s side of the draw, with ramifications for China’s medley relay assemblage. Wang Xueer brought good news by winning the 100 back in 58.99. That’s seven-tenths quicker than the time swum by Peng Xuwei to lead off the 400 medley relay in Tokyo, where China finished fourth. Peng was third on Thursday in 59.32. In between was Wan Letian in 59.19.

The 100 breast was less of a revelation. Yang Chang won in 1:07.80. Zhu Leijie finished second in 1:08.33. The top nations in the women’s 400 medley relay aim to be in the 1:05-split range.

The other men’s race was the race of the session, with Wang Changhao edging Sun Jiajun by .01 seconds in the 100 fly. Wang clocked in at 51.73. Chen Juner joined them in the sub-52 club with a 51.88.

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