Wang Shun, Ye Shiwen Cruise to Titles at Chinese National Swimming Championships

Ye Shiwen swam a 4:37 in the 400 IM. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

The 2019 Chinese National Swimming Championships started this week with the Chinese Swimming Association putting on the event in Anshan City as a test run for the 2020 Olympic Games. The finals for the meet will be swum in the morning to get the athletes prepared for morning finals in Tokyo next summer. Many of China’s best swimmers are in attendance, but the competition will notably be missing World and Olympic Champion Sun Yang.

Sun is due to attend a hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) next month after a challenge from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to a FINA Doping Panel decision to issue the swimmer with a severe caution but let him go penalty free after a contested visit by out-of-competition testers ended in acrimony.

Men’s 400 IM

Wang Shun won the 400 IM to start the meet with a 4:15.26, which was much better than his 4:23 at the World Championships in July. Wang moved up to 29th in the world as he won the final over Huang Zhiwei (4:21.06) and Deng Ziqi (4:21.12). Wang has been quicker as he holds the Chinese record at 4:09.

Men’s 400 Free

With Sun Yang out of the meet, Ji Xinjie took full advantage in the 400 free with a 3:48.49 as he won by three seconds over Zhang Ziyang (3:51.73) and Cheng Long (3:52.12). Ji was a 3:45 at the World Championships where he was seventh in the final. The 21-year-old has developed into a solid second option for Chinese swimming in the middle distance free races behind Sun, who won his fourth World title in Gwangju.

Women’s 400 IM

Ye Shiwen dominated the 400 IM field with a 4:37.40, winning ahead of Ge Chutong (4:41.36) and Yu Yiting (4:43.57). Ye had a resurgence in 2019, getting to the podium at the World Championships in both the 200 and 400 IM. It was the first time Ye was on the podium at a Worlds or Olympics since she won two gold medals in 2012 at the age of 16. Now 23, Ye has rekindled her career and is a medal threat in Tokyo next summer. She was a 4:32 in Gwangju, but this 4:37 she swam would have still gotten her in the final at Worlds, so she is swimming well heading into the Olympic year.

Semi Finals Wrap

The meet this week is following the Olympic lineup so the women’s 100 fly and men’s 100 breast semi finals also took place on day one. Zhang Yufei is leading the butterfly finalists for tomorrow (58.13) while Wang Lizhuo (1:01.26) is leading the breaststroke finalists.

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