Zhang Yifan Scores Upset Win in 200 Fly at Chinese National Swimming Championships

Zhang Yifan beat Zhang Yufei in the women's 200 fly final at the Chinese National Swimming Championships. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

The 2019 Chinese National Swimming Championships continued Monday from Anshan City as the Chinese are hosting a nine day meet to simulate the type of environment the athletes will see at the Olympic Games next summer. The 2020 Olympics will have morning finals and the Chinese are trying to acclimate with a lower pressure meet with finals in the morning. Many of China’s best swimmers are not in attendance including Sun YangXu Jiayu and Li Bingjie.

Sun has been in the news all year as he is awaiting a hearing with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in October.

Men’s 800 Free

Taking advantage of no Sun Yang in the field, Ji Xinjie won his third title of the week with an 8:01.65 in the 800 free final, adding on to his wins in the 200 and 400 free earlier in the meet. Sun was China’s lone participant in this event at the World Championships this summer but Ji was seventh in the 400 free in Gwangju and the 21-year-old could be adding the 800 to his repertoire since it will be making its Olympic debut next year.

Ji won ahead of Fei Liwei (8:05.35) and Wang Haohan (8:07.20).

Men’s 200 Breast

Zhang Ruixuan won the 200 breast final with a 2:11.28 as he was slightly off his World Championships performance where he was a 2:10.8 in finishing 22nd. The other Chinese participant in Gwangju in this event was Qin Haiyang, who has since lost his world junior record to Japan’s Shoma Sato. Qin was not in attendance at this meet.

Wang Lizhuo (2:12.61) and Shen Hao (2:13.30) finished second and third.

Women’s 200 Fly

Zhang Yifan had the swim of the day at the Chinese National Swimming Championships with a 2:07.87 in the 200 fly final. Zhang moved up to tied for 17th in the world rankings as she sits next to USA’s Charlotte Hook. Zhang’s time would have put her in the thick of things of the final at the World Championships. She did not swim this event at the World Championships.

Zhang took down Zhang Yufei (2:08.03), who already sits tenth in the world rankings with a 2:07.36 from April. Zhang Yufei was the 2018 Asian Games gold medalist in this event and had a very disappointing showing in this event at Worlds after coming in as a medal favorite, placing 26th at 2:14.20 and completely missing the semi finals.

She was able to slightly redeem herself here at Nationals but it was not enough to win. Yu Liyan (2:08.80) was third.

Men’s 100 Free

He Junyi won the 100 free final with a 48.81 as he was right on his time from the World Championships where he was 15th in the semi finals at 48.67. He has been the fastest man in China the last few years with the absence of 2015 World Champion Ning Zetao. He had some pressure from Hou Yujie, who was second at 49.12 while Cao Jiwen (49.82) was third.

Semi Finals Wrap

Ye Shiwen was back in the pool on day five as she is leading the 200 breast field for tomorrow with a 2:28.47. Zhu Menghui is the top seed in the women’s 100 free final at 54.77 while Wang Yutian (2:01.25) and Cong Yu (2:02.88) are leading the 200 back and 200 IM finals respectively.