Yang Junxuan Breaks Asian Record in 200 Free, Wang Jianjiahe Throws Down 15:49 1500

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Wang Jianjiahe. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Yang Junxuan Breaks Asian Record in 200 Free, Wang Jianjiahe Throws Down 15:49 1500

The 2021 Chinese Nationals continued Tuesday from Qingdao as the Chinese Olympic contingent for Tokyo is filling out nicely with some medal contenders emerging tonight.

Yang Junxuan started the night with a 1:54.57 in the 200 freestyle, lowering the Asian record in the process as she took down Rikako Ikee’s 1:54.85 Asian record from the 2018 Pan Pacs. Yang’s time is second in the world rankings for 2021 behind only Katie Ledecky (1:54.40) as she won ahead of Li Bingjie (1:56.64) with both swimmers achieving their first Olympic berth. Tang Muhan finished in third at 1:57.83 as China could have a run at a medal for the 4×200 free relay, as they last won a medal internationally with a silver at the 2017 Worlds.

Li also returned later in the session to finish second in the 1500 freestyle at 15:58.35 behind Worlds bronze medalist Wang Jianjiahe (15:49.07), who is second in the world rankings behind Ledecky. With the 1500 and 200 free finals falling on the same day, only a handful of women will try for that double as Ledecky perfected that double at the 2015 World Championships, collecting gold in both events. Li looks to potentially join Ledecky in those two finals come Tokyo in 81 days.

Wang should also be a medal favorite in the 1500 as she won bronze in Gwangju 2019 and is seventh all-time.

Another record fell from Yu Yiting in the 200 IM, breaking her own world junior record with a 2:09.64 that puts her fifth in the world rankings for 2021. Yu lowered her own world junior record that she set in the heats as she picked up her second event for Tokyo after winning the 400 IM on night one. At just 15, Yu will be one of the youngest athletes at the Games.

Chen Xinyi, who famously was disqualified in Rio for a positive doping test, finished second at 2:11.58 ahead of 2012 Olympic champion Ye Shiwen (2:12.57).

Per the Chinese swimming fan account on Twitter: “According to CSA’s selection policy for a swimmer who has a history of anti-doping violation, whether he/she can go to Olympics will be decided by Chinese General Administration of Sport.” This may open the door for Ye Shiwen to make a third Olympics, although she has one more chance in the 200 breaststroke.

Chen Juner won the men’s 200 fly but missed the FINA A standard with a 1:56.77.

In semi-final action, Zhang Yufei leads the 200 fly field at 2:06.31, while He Junyi leads the men’s 100 free field at 49.12.

Yan Zibei, who is already on the team in the 100 breast, cruised through the 200 breast semis at 2:12.44.

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