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Ji & Sun: A Brace Of 2:24s In 200 Breast

Apr 26, 2010  - Craig Lord

On a day when Aussie ace Leisel Jones let it be known that the 200m breaststroke is still very much part of her medal-target focus, two Chinese women clocked 2:24 to take gold and silver at Chinese nationals in Shaoxing. Ji Liping, coached by Dave Lyles in Shanghai, got the touch in 2:24.30 for gold, with Sun Ye, also Shanghai but training in a different programme, on 2:24.57. In shiny suit season, when Qi Hui, absent from Shaoxing, clocked a Chinese record of 2:21.37, Sun, 20, was on 2:22.59 (after a 2008 best of 2:26.52) and Ji, 22, 2:23.83 (after a 2008 best of 2:28.23).

In the final today, bronze went to Fan Rong, Guangzhou Army, on 2:27, though the result sheet shows a discrepancy in the times of the bronze and fourth-placed finishes, the first registered as 2:27.87, with Wang Qun, Shandong, registered as 4th in 2:27.86. 

After a 15:00.39 victory, Zhang Lin, Beijing, sits at No2 on the 1,500m free world rankings close behind the only sub-15-min man this season, Ryan Cochrane (CAN). Zhang had company, the silver going to 18-year-old Dai Jun, Shanghai, in 15.06.17, with Zu Lijun, Jiangsu, taking bronze in 15.24.43. All eight men were home by 15:43.14. Dai's best of 14:59.25 was set at the National Games last October, after a 2008 best of 15:36.68.

"I don't care about the medal. I care about the time," Zhang told Xinhua. "Since my training sessions were mainly over short distances recently, the result today is acceptable." Zhang leads the 400m free world rankings for 2010 on a 3:44.91, from Shaoxing.

"I have not competed in any meet since last October, so I could not find the pace at the beginning of the meet. Fortunately, I gradually got more comfortable. I guess I could swim faster if I compete more," said the 23-year-old.

China will remain a force to be reckoned with in the 4x200m freestyle in which they have shown remarkable improvement of late. National record holder Pan Jiaying is off sick right now. In her absence, the solo 200m crown went to Tang Yi, Shanghai, in 1:57.86, the minor spoils going to two women within a stroke or two, Zhu Qianwei, Shanghai, on 1:58.33, and Liu Jing, Beijing, on 1:58.69. Fourth went to Liu Yiru, Chinese Navy, on 1:59.91, and 5th to Yin Chang, Henan, on 1:59.94. The final was home in 2:01.74. In 2009, Tang stepped up from a best of 2:00.15 to 1:56.82. Zhu Qianwei's best is a 1:57.43, 9th best Chinese, while  Liu Jing stepped up from a 2:00.00 best to 1:56.33 last year.

In line with several strong wins in Shaoxing, the men's 200m butterfly witnessed a 1:55.67 win for Chen Yin, Hebei. That is in line with his 2009 best of 1:54.85 and 2008 best of 1:55.62. The silver went to Chen Weiru, Shandong, on 1:58.86, with Xu Hang, Shandong, third in 2:00.67. The final was all home in 2:03.91.

In the men's 200m backstroke, Zhang Fenglin, Shandong, was the sole sub 2m-minute man, on 1:58.42, the silver going to Diao Jigong, Chinese Navy, in 2:00.52, ahead of Cheng Feiyi, Liaoning, on 2:01.22. At 16, Zhang rose to prominence with a 1:58.17 best at China National Games last October. The only Chinese man ever to swim faster was Ouyeng Kunpeng, on 1:57.91 in 2005 before a positive doping test led to his removal from the sport. 

In the final race of the championships, the 4x100m medley for men went to Guangdong, on 3:39.71, ahead of Chinese Navy, 3:40.46, and Beijing, 3:41.17.