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Chinese: Lochte Could Have Swum Faster

Jul 30, 2012

In the interests of balance and fairness, the full text of two articles from Xinhua, the national news agency of China, follow on the theme of Yi Shiwen and the talk surrounding her extraordinary last 100m in the 400m medley on Saturday:

The 16-year-old Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen's success at the London Games had aroused lots of questions from foreign media [and coaches], however, the team leader of the Chinese swimming team Xu Qi said Monday that Ye's good result was expected. 

"Ye Shiwen's result was expected," he said. "It is a little bit better than we had hoped, but not surprising." 

Ye stunned the world at the London Olympic Games when she won the gold medal in the 400 meters individual medley and set a world record time of four minutes 28.43 seconds, knocking over a second off the previous record, which had been held by Australian Stephanie Rice and five seconds off her own personal best. 

What made Ye's win all the more incredible is that she swam the last 50 meters of the race faster than men's 400 meters medley winner Ryan Lochte had done earlier Saturday. 

However, Xu called the camparison between the American star and the teenger girl meaningless. 

"To compare Ye's result with Lochte's is meaningless," he said. "Ye was behind after 300m and she need to try her best to win the race, but Lochte had already established the lead before the freestyle and didn't need to do his upmost." 

Some foreign medias questioned how Ye could produce such an incredible feat, and Xu said: "Michael Phelps won eight gold medals at the Beijing Games, and American swimmer Missy Franklin is also incredible. Why can't China have a talented swimmer?" 

"The improvement of Chinese swimming is the reward of our efforts in many years," he added. "And we also have good coaches from different countries, who gave us lots of help." 

Ye is also quite hopeful in the 200m medley and following her comfortable win in her heat Monday, Ye was asked about the question and rejected any accusations outright. 

"There is no doping, the Chinese team has always had a firm anti-doping policy," she said. 

On Sunday night she had put her win and world record down to hard work and training. 

"I think that we have good and scientific training: that is why we progress. I'm very lucky because from childhood we have trained in a very scientific way, so it is not difficult for me to work hard," said Ye, who took up swimming at an age of 6 after a kindergarten teacher had spotted her big hands and directed her parents to the pool.

A second story also ran on Xinhua today stating:

It is unfair to point fingers at Chinese swimmers with doping allegations once they win medals in big events, a senior Chinese anti-doping official said here on Monday. 

Sun Yang became the first Chinese man to win Olympic swimming gold medal with victory in the 400m freestyle, and Ye Shiwen captured the women's 400m individual medley title in a world record time of four minutes 28.43 seconds. 

Ye's stunning performance raised some suspicions over whether Chinese swimmers turned to banned substances for success.  Jiang Zhixue, the anti-doping chief of China's General Administration of Sport, said these suspicions were not justified. 

"The Chinese athletes, including the swimmers, have underwent nearly 100 drug tests since they arrived here," Jiang told Xinhua.  "Many were also tested by the international federations and the British anti-doping agency. I can tell you that so far there was not a single positive case." 

Jiang added that China had made huge efforts to crack down on doping, saying the swimming success was down to advanced training method and hard work. 

"They've made breakthroughs. I think it's the result of scientific training and sheer hard work," Jiang said. "I think it is not proper to single Chinese swimmers out once they produce good results. Some people are just biased. 

"We never questioned Michael Phelps when he bagged eight gold medals in Beijing," he added.

Then again, he was expected to go much faster than the women coming home in the 400m medley - and on that note SwimNews will carry an analysis of splits on the theme.