Sun takes comfortable win in 200m freestyle

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China's top swimmer Sun Yang stormed to a runaway victory in the men's 200m freestyle in Tianjin on Saturday for his second title at the ongoing 13th National Games and the 101st of his career.

Photo shows Sun Yang speaks in an interview after the race. [Photo/Xinhua]

The 25-year-old Olympic and world champion from Zhejiang province, who built up an early lead of half a second in the first 50m, clocked one minute and 45.15 seconds for the gold, more than two seconds faster than the second-placed Shandong swimmer Ji Xinjie.

Sun's winning time is the third fastest of the season, but would have been enough for him to win last July's world championships in Budapest since the second fastest in 2017 was Townley Haas' 1:45.03 in the United States championships.

The season best result was scored by Sun in the Budapest worlds, just 0.76s less than that bringing him the National Games triumph on Saturday.

The world record of 1:42.00 was set by Paul Biedermann of Germany eight years ago in Rome.

"The victory was kind of comfortable here for me," admitted Sun, the first Chinese man to win an individual Olympic gold in the pool when he took the 400m and 1,500m freestyle events at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

"But it's still necessary for me to take part in the short distance events as many as possible to improve my skills, especially on the start," he said. "I just want to swim my own course here, actually."

The King of Freestyle as Sun was called by his fans, who added the 200m title in the 2016 Rio Olympics to compliment his distance collection, claimed his 100th gold of career two days ago at the quadrennial sports gala after winning his strongest event of 400m freestyle.

"It's a tough test for me to attend the tightly scheduled National Games, especially after such a short interval from the worlds. I come here to win gold medals, and at the same time, challenge myself," said Sun, who's bidding to win seven titles in Tianjin.

Another star in the pool of Tianjin 2017, Fu Yuanhui, also from Zhejiang, timed 59.40 seconds to win the women's 100m backstroke over Wang Xueer of Guangdong by just 0.85s.

Fu, who suffered a semifinal elimination in the same event in Budapest worlds before finishing a disappointing runner-up in 50m backstroke by one-hundredth of a second, told Xinhua after Saturday's final that she's wearing her "winning" swimsuit of the 2015 Kazan worlds.

"'Don't give up, no matter how bad my form seems to be,' I told my self," said the 21-year-old. "I believe there's a chance to win whenever I try."

In the following finals, newly crowned world champion Xu Jiayu came out the third Zhejiang swimmer having stepped on the top podium after winning the men's 100m backstroke in 52.60s with his provincial teammate Li Guangyuan taking the silver at nearly one second, while Jiangsu's Shi Jinglin was crowned on 1:06.71 in the women's 100m breaststroke.

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