Xu Jiayu Completes Backstroke Double at Chinese Nationals

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Xu Jiayu Completes Backstroke Double at Chinese Nationals

Following up on his earlier victory in the 200 backstroke, Xu Jiayu made it a backstroke double when he finished on top in the 100 distance at the Chinese National Championships in Qingdao. Xu is a two-time world champion in the 100 backstroke and among the leading contenders for the Olympic title next summer in Tokyo.

In picking up his second win of the week, Xu turned in a time of 52.60, with Wang Yutian placing well back in second in 55.26. Xu was faster in the prelims, where he managed a time of 52.37. In addition to collecting a pair of world crowns, Xu was the silver medalist in the 100 backstroke at the 2016 Olympic Games, finishing behind American Ryan Murphy.

Coming off an Asian record of 55.62 in prelims, Zhang Yufei was slower in the final of the 100 butterfly, but still produced a strong showing. Zhang turned in a winning mark of 56.29, giving her back-to-back impressive outings in the event. Zhang’s prelim effort was the second-fastest in history and fell just shy of Sarah Sjostrom’s world record of 55.48.

In other action, Yang Junxuan claimed a convincing win in the women’s 200 freestyle, as her time of 1:56.52 was more than two seconds clear of the rest of the field. In the men’s 100 freestyle, Hou Yujie prevailed in 48.86, although that triumph arrived in the absence of Yu Hexin. In the prelims, Yu touched in 48.44, but he was denied his spot in the final due to the controversial requirement of athletes recording specific physical-fitness testing scores to advance to the final. After going a national record of 21.79, Yu endured the same fate in the 50 free earlier in the meet.

Zhang Ke also picked up a win, thanks to a swim of 8:29.92 in the women’s 800 freestyle.

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