Zhang Yufei Narrowly Misses WR in 100 Fly at Chinese Champs

Zhang Yufei; Photo Courtesy: Xinhua/Youth Olympic Games

The Chinese National Championships continued Tuesday as a near-world record occurred in the heats of the women’s 100 butterfly. Zhang Yufei, 22, blasted a 55.62 in the heats to break the Asian record that stood at 56.07 from China’s Liu Zige back in the shiny suit era from 2009. Zhang’s swim also put her second all-time as she became the fourth swimmer to break 56 seconds. Zhang just missed Sarah Sjostrom’s world record of 55.48 from the 2016 Olympics.

There was speculation that 2020 could produce no new world records in the sport of swimming. Although that has been true through nearly nine whole months, but Zhang and Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri have produced near-world records this year, improving on their best times to sit second in the all-time rankings. Zhang’s swim is the third fastest performance all-time behind Sjostrom’s gold medal swims at the 2016 Olympics and 2017 Worlds.

This is a huge improvement for Zhang, 22, whose previous best was a 56.47 from last month, and before that was a 57.29 from the 2017 Worlds. More known as a 200 butterflyer, she was the bronze medalist in the 200 fly at the 2015 Worlds and the gold medalist at the 2018 Asian Games in that event.

At the 2019 Worlds, she didn’t advance past the semi finals in the 100 butterfly.

All-time Rankings (Women’s 100 Butterfly)

  1. 55.48, Sarah Sjostrom, SWE, 2016
  2. 55.63, Zhang Yufei, CHN, 2020
  3. 55.83, Maggie MacNeil, CAN, 2019
  4. 55.98, Dana Vollmer, USA, 2012
  5. 56.07, Liu Zige, CHN, 2009
  6. 56.08, Rikako Ikee, JPN, 2018
  7. 56.18, Emma McKeon, AUS, 2017
  8. 56.23, Jess Schipper, AUS, 2009
  9. 56.37, Kelsi Dahlia, USA, 2017
  10. 56.46, Penny Oleksiak, CAN, 2016

In other action, Yan Zibei, the bronze medalist at last summer’s Worlds in the 100 breaststroke, nearly broke his own Asian record with a 58.73, just missing his Worlds performance of 58.63. Yan followed that up in the final with a 59.07, winning ahead of Wang Lizhuo (1:00.61).

Liu Xiang, the world record holder in the women’s 50 back, took the final of the 50 freestyle with a 24.45. She was a 24.03 in January 2020 at the FINA Champions Series which currently stands as the Asian record.

Other winners on the night included Hong Jinquan in the 100 butterfly (53.03), Yu Yiting in the women’s 400 IM (4:42.12), and Zhang Ke in the women’s 1500 (16:13.26).

Two-time reigning World champ Xu Jiayu also swam a 52.37 in the 100 backstroke heats, a half second off his 51.86 best time.

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Lil Swimmy
2 years ago

EEP! Ms. Zhang did not come to play