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Hackett's Masterpiece Survives Another Dawn

Apr 7, 2011  - Craig Lord

Wuhan, China national championships, day 5

Fabulous speed from Sun Yang over 200m and 400m this week took a toll and the world No1 of 2010 was off the pace of the Australian's world mark over 30 laps on 14:42 today.

In other events, some big names and obvious choices for world titles at home in Shanghai were not in the mix in Wuhan.

Men's 1500m freestyle

After a cracking 3:41.48 over 400m and breaking the 1:45 mark on 1:44.99 over 200m this week, Sun Yang (Zhejiang) had been widely considered capable of taking down Grant Hackett's 14:34.56 monument to 30-lap racing. 

Not as easy to do as to write, of course, and while Sun, who came within a second of the big time last year, swept to the helm of the world rankings, he fell well shy of the Australian's pace, on 14:42.52. The silver went to Zhong Guixu (Shanghai), 15:10.61, the bronze to Dai Jun (Shanghai) in 15:18.03.

Sun's splits: 27.30; 56.50; 1:25.99; 1:55.98; 2:25.86; 2:55.62; 3:25.35; 3:55.12; 4:24.89; 4:54.79; 5:24.44; 5:54.38; 6:24.21; 6:53.95; 7:23.82; 7:53.67; 8:23.25; 8:52.84; 9:22.62; 9:52.31; 10:22.11; 10:51.66; 11:21.07; 11:50.67; 12:20.22; 12:49.77; 13:19.23; 13:48.55; 14:16.07; 14:42.51.

Sun's pace over 200m and 400m, faster than Hackett ever was, and the way in which the Denis-Cotterell-coached challenger to the Miami guru's former charge swam his races, suggests that he is practising for an assault on world standards sometime soon. Shanghai 2011 world titles would be a grand moment, while London 2012 is a place and time to go for gold, not necessarily times.

Men's 50m freestyle

At the other end of the spectrum to Sun, Lu Zhiwu (Zhejiang) took the crown in 22.85 ahead of Shi Tengfei (Beijing) on 22.94 and Shi Yang (Shanghai), on 23.02.

Women's 50m freestyle

The dash went to Li Zhesi (Liaoning) in 25.17, the silver to Tang Yi (Shanghai), 25.62, and the bronze to Wang Junyao (Liaoning), on 25.68.

Women's 200m backstroke

No sign of Zhao Jing, the obvious world-title contender this July in Shanghai, as the crown went to Zhu Jiaoni (Shandong), in 2:08.62, ahead of Zhou Yanxin (Shanghai), 2:09.48, and Liao Yali (Hunan), on 2:09.59.

Women's 100m breaststroke

Shanghai teammates Ji Liping and Sun Ye took the top two slots, respectively on 1:06.81 and 1:07.41, the bronze going to Liu Xiaoyu (Liaoning), on 1:07.84.

Men's 4x100m medley

Shanghai took the crown in 3:39.14 ahead of Shandong, 3:41.69, and Guangdong, on 3:41.82.