Zhang Yufei Stars at Chinese Trials With 55.73 in 100 Fly; Yu Yiting Sets WJR in 200 IM


Zhang Yufei Stars at Chinese Trials With 55.73 in 100 Fly; Yu Yiting Sets WJR

Late in 2020, China’s Zhang Yufei made noise in the 100-meter butterfly with an Asian record. Now, with the Olympic Games fast approaching, she is continuing to establish herself as a leading gold-medal contender in the event.

Racing at the Chinese Olympic Trials on Sunday morning, Zhang prevailed in the 100 fly behind a time of 55.73. That effort was not far off her Asian standard of 55.62 and was easily clear of the 58.13 delivered by runnerup Yu Yiting. Ahead of the Olympic Games, Zhang is considered a top medal favorite along with Canadian Maggie MacNeil, reigning Olympic champion Sarah Sjostrom (recovering from an elbow injury), Australian Emma McKeon and rising American star Claire Curzan.

In the women’s 400 freestyle, Li Bingjie bested the field when she touched the wall in 4:02.36, with Tang Muhan going 4:05.15 for second place. Third went to Wang Jianjiahe in 4:05.68. Although much has been made of the impending Tokyo showdown in the 400 free between Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus, Li figures to be in the medal picture.

The final of the men’s 100 breaststroke was won by Yan Zibei in 59.25.

In the prelims of the 200 individual medley on Sunday night, Yu Yiting was back in the water and set a world junior record of 2:09.88, a mark that shaved a tenth of a second off the prior standard of 2:09.98, set in 2017 by Japan’s Rikako Ikee.

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