World University Games, Day One: Qin Haiyang Dials Up Quick 100 Breaststroke; Zhang Yufei Leads China to Relay Win

Haiyang Qin of China celebrates after winning the gold medal in the 200m Breaststroke Men Final with a New World Record during the 20th World Aquatics Championships at the Marine Messe Hall A in Fukuoka (Japan), July 28th, 2023.

World University Games, Day One: Qin Haiyang Dials Up Quick 100 Breaststroke; Zhang Yufei Leads China to Relay Win

The first session of finals from the World University Games in Chengdu, China unfolded on Tuesday night, with the home country featuring a pair of its recently crowned world champions in semifinal action – Zhang Yufei and Qin Haiyang. Additionally, several finals were contested at the competition. Here is an event-by-event recap of what transpired on Night One.

Men’s 400 Freestyle (Final)

Italian Matteo Lamberti rallied over the last 50 meters to overtake Brazil’s Eduardo Oliveira de Moraes and prevail in 3:48.65. Lamberti had the lead for much of the race before falling slightly behind the Brazilian heading into the last lap. But Lamberti had a little more remaining down the stretch to claim the gold, with Oliveira de Moraes picking up silver in 3:49.10. Japan’s Ikki Imoto took bronze in 3:49.66.


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Women’s 50 Butterfly (Semifinals)

China’s Zhang Yufei, who etched herself as the No. 2 performer in the event’s history at the World Championships last week, easily took the top seed for the final. Zhang clocked a World University Games record of 25.29, not far off the 25.05 she managed in Fukuoka for silver behind Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom. Advancing as the second seed was South Africa’s Erin Gallagher in 25.71.


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Men’s 100 Backstroke (Semifinals)

Italy’s Simone Stefani posted the only sub-54 performance of the session, as his 53.87 led the way into the final. Poland’s Kacper Stokowski figures to provide a push in the final. Stokowski checked in with a time of 54.13, ahead of the 54.24 of Italy’s Michele Lamberti. American Keaton Jones is lurking in fourth at 54.36.


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Women’s 400 Individual Medley (Final)

Japan’s Ichika Kajimoto pulled away on the closing freestyle leg to capture the gold medal ahead of the American tandem of Megan Van Berkom and Paige MacEachern. Kaijimoto trailed Van Berkom by just .02 entering the freestyle and touched in a final time of 4:41.65. Van Berkom went 4:42.47 and MacEachern made the podium with a swim of 4:45.81.


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Men’s 100 Breaststroke (Semifinals)

World champion Qin Haiyang had no trouble blasting the World University Games record, as she produced a time of 58.42. That mark is a little less than a second off the 57.69 he managed to win gold in Fukuoka. Qin has established himself as the premier breaststroker in the world on the strength of sweeping the breast events at Worlds, the highlight a world record in the 200 distance. He was followed in second in Chengdu by Lithuania’s Andrius Sidlauskas in 1:00.08.


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Women’s 200 Backstroke (Semifinals)

Hungary’s Eszter Szabo-Feltothy and Portugal’s Camila Rodrigues Rebelo advanced to the final as the top two seeds, and as the only swimmers to go under 2:12. Szabo-Feltothy touched the wall in 2:11.21 in the second semifinal, where Rodrigues Rebelo was 2:11.97. The third seed was earned by South Africa’s Hannah Pearse, who won the first semifinal in 2:12.04.


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Men’s 50 Butterfly (Semifinals)

Germany’s Luca Armbruster paced the way into the final behind a mark of 23.18, which was .11 ahead of the effort put together by the Netherlands’ Thomas Verhoeven (23.29). Another tenth back was Italy’s Lorenzo Gargani, who moved on as the No. 3 seed in 23.39.


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Women’s 400 Freestyle Relay (Final)

The Chinese squad of Li Bingjie, Liu Yaxin, Luo Youyang and Zhang Yufei bested the field by more than a second to win in 3:37.51, with Italy following for the silver medal in 3:38.81 and the bronze going to Japan in 3:41.83. Li, coming off three medals at the World Championships, led off in 54.40 and was supported by splits of 54.41 from Liu and 55.23 from Luo. Zhang closed out the triumph with a split of 53.53.47.


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Men’s 400 Freestyle Relay (Final)

Poland received steady splits throughout its lineup, which led to gold in a winning time of 3:14.60. Kamil Sieradzki opened with a 48.75 marker and was followed by Dominik Dudys‘ split of 48,81. In front at that point, Poland maintained its advantage behind Mateusz Chowaniec (48.89) and Jakub Kraska (48.15). The silver medal was claimed by Brazil in 3:15.30 and Italy took bronze in 3:15.62. China just missed the podium, but Chen Juner anchored in 47.74.


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