The Week That Was: China Breaks First World Record of 2020; La Salle Cuts Swim Program

Xu Jiayu led off China's mixed medley relay that set a world record last week. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

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The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

The first world record of 2020 fell in the swimming pool last week in Qingdao, China, to the hands of China’s mixed medley relay team that took the USA’s record from the 2017 Worlds. There was speculation 2020 would be the first year without a swimming world record since 1896 with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting major meets all over the world. But China’s national team set the global mark less than a year out from the postponed Olympic Games.

In USA news, La Salle University became the seventh Division I school to cut swimming and diving this off-season.

Read below the five biggest stories in The Week That Was sponsored by Suitmate.

The Week That Was #1: China’s Mixed Medley Relay Breaks First World Record of 2020


Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

By Andy Ross

China’s team of Xu JiayuYan ZibeiZhang Yufei and Yang Junxuan lowered the world record in the mixed medley relay at the Chinese National Swimming Championships in Qingdao with a 3:38.41. The swim lowers the Americans’ world record of 3:38.56 from the 2017 World Championships, as this marks the first official world record in the sport of swimming in 2020.

In a year that has been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, questions had begun surrounding the swimming world earlier this summer whether 2020 would be the first year no world records in swimming would fall since 1896, due to numerous events getting cancelled like the Olympic Games, to slow down the COVID-19 pandemic around the world.

But China’s team of Xu (52.45), Yan (57.96), Zhang (55.32) and Yang (52.68) broke the official first world record of the year in the swimming pool.

#2: La Salle University Cuts Swimming & Diving

Atlantic 10 Conference Swimming

Photo Courtesy: La Salle Athletics

By Andy Ross

La Salle University became the seventh Division I school this offseason to cut its swimming and diving program, as the school announced Tuesday that is is cutting its men’s program among seven sports at the conclusion of academic year.

La Salle will also cut baseball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s water polo, softball and women’s volleyball, bringing the school’s total varsity offerings from 25 to 18. These programs will compete during this 2020-21 season, if conditions permit. La Salle’s women’s swimming and diving and water polo teams will continue.

La Salle joins Division I schools East CarolinaConnecticutBoise StateDartmouthIowa and William & Mary in cutting swimming teams to ease the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Week That Was #3: Shoma Sato Moves to Fifth All-Time in 200 Breaststroke


Photo Courtesy: FINA / Budapest 2019

By Liz Byrnes

Shoma Sato became the fifth-fastest man in history over 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:07.02 on the final day of the Japan Student Swimming Championships.

It rocketed the teenager from fifth to third in the all-time Japanese rankings behind former world-record holders Ippei Watanabe with a best of 2:06.67 and Akihiro Yamaguchi who swam 2:07.01 in 2012.

World-record holder Anton Chupkov and Australian Matt Wilson – who had equalled Watanabe’s 2017 mark in the semis at the 2019 World Championships before the Russian set a new threshold of 2:06.12 en-route to a successful title defence – are the only other men to have gone faster than Sato.

Sato – who won silver at last year’s World Junior Championships behind Josh Matheny of the USA – started the meet with a best of 2:07.58 from the Kosuke Kitajima Cup in January.

He had already done a PB of 59.55 over 100m and on Sunday was 0.47 under world-record pace at the 150 mark which puts into sharp focus Chupkov’s final-50 blast of 31.89 in Gwangju with Sato coming home in 33.26.

#4: Zhang Yufei Scares World Record in 100 Butterfly


Zhang Yufei; Photo Courtesy: Xinhua/Youth Olympic Games

By Andy Ross

The Chinese National Championships continued Tuesday as a near-world record occurred in the heats of the women’s 100 butterfly. Zhang Yufei, 22, blasted a 55.62 in the heats to break the Asian record that stood at 56.07 from China’s Liu Zige back in the shiny suit era from 2009. Zhang’s swim also put her second all-time as she became the fourth swimmer to break 56 seconds. Zhang just missed Sarah Sjostrom’s world record of 55.48 from the 2016 Olympics.

The Week That Was #5: Nathan Adrian & Wife Hallie Announce New Baby on the Way


Photo Courtesy: Annie Grevers

By Andy Ross

Three-time Olympian Nathan Adrian announced that his wife Hallie is pregnant and expecting a baby girl to come in February 2021. This would be the Adrian family’s first child since the couple wed in September 2018.

Nathan Adrian joins the growing list of Olympic medalists turned fathers ahead of the Tokyo Games, joining Adam Peaty and Cody Miller who will enter fatherhood ahead of next summer. Adrian, who will be 32 by next summer, won four medals in Rio, taking golds in the 4×100 free and medley relays, and bronze in the 50 & 100 freestyle.




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