Record breakers lay down gauntlet

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, November 1, 2022
Adjust font size:

With Team China's swimmers sending records tumbling in Beijing over the weekend, expectations are high they can enjoy a fruitful time at next month's short-course world championships in Melbourne.

Li Bingjie displayed her world-title credentials by smashing the women's 400m freestyle world record (25m) at the national swimming championships last week. [Photo by Wei Xiaohao/China Daily]

A total of eight national records fell at the Chinese National Swimming Championships (25m) in the capital, but the most eye-catching result came on Thursday when Olympic champion Li Bingjie broke the women's 400-meter short-course world record in a time of 3 minutes 51.30 seconds.

Amazingly, the 20-year-old Li shaved nearly three seconds off Ariarne Titmus' world record of 3:53.92, which the Australian set at the Hangzhou worlds in 2018.

"I thought I could finish in about 3:53.00, but the final result really surprised me. I'm aiming to make more breakthroughs at the world championships," Li told reporters.

On Friday, Li maintained her momentum by clocking an Asian record in the 1,500m freestyle (15:41.80) and a national record in the 200m freestyle (1:51.25).Li is the reigning short-course world champion in 400m and 800m free and claimed gold in the women's 4x200m free relay and bronze in the 400m free at last year's Tokyo Olympics.

"This proved that my hard work over the past few months has paid off. I still need to work on many details as I'm not very consistent now. I will try my best to be faster at the worlds," Li added.

"All my setbacks, tears and injuries have forged me and resulted in the new record. From the Tokyo Olympics to the worlds in Abu Dhabi last year until now, all the progress that I have made is thanks to the many people who have supported me, including my coaches, parents, clubs and the nation. I will try my best to deliver better results and repay my supportive fans. I'm looking forward to producing a better me in December in Melbourne."

Li's coach, Mark Schubert, said the only goal at next month's worlds is to win gold but believes an even faster time could be possible.

"We expected a world record for Li, but over two and a half seconds faster than the world record was shocking. Her performances in training over the past few months have been the best that I have ever seen, so I knew she was going to achieve this," said the American.

"We still have a lot of work to do. For a long period, she had only three days' rest. I think she can swim faster in Melbourne. We will do more distance, more speed work. I still think she can be even better. We shall see."

Another swimmer to look out for at the worlds is Tang Qianting after the 18-year-old powered to an Asian-record 1:03.15 in the women's 100m breaststroke on Friday. The following day, she twice lowered the Asian record in the 50m breaststroke, clocking 29.19 in the final.

"My training has been better than the corresponding period last year," said Tang, who won the 100m breaststroke gold at last year's short-course worlds. "Both my technique and fitness have improved. My standards are very high now.

"There's no room for me to make any mistakes if I want to win, but I'm looking forward to every competition. No matter who's swimming next to me, I just want to improve my personal bests."

Double Olympic champion Zhang Yufei felt she wasn't quite up to her own lofty standards despite setting a national record in the women's 50m freestyle.

"I'm both happy and not that satisfied with the new national record as I was actually aiming at refreshing the Asian record. I joined up with the national team in August, so I'm at about 90 percent now, but I feel good about where I'm at so far," said Zhang, who will defend her 200m butterfly title at the worlds in Australia.

"Time is limited, though, in terms of preparation, and being the Olympic champion can bring extra pressure, so I need to take care of both the butterfly and freestyle. If I think too much, I might feel there are too many rivals to beat and goals to achieve.

"So I don't want to set too many goals for the worlds. The national meet is a test of the past two months' training. The coach and I have more to analyze ahead of the worlds, and we are aiming to produce better results in Melbourne."

Qin Haiyang was among the top performers at last week's meet in Beijing, setting national records in the 50m and 100m breaststroke. [Photo by Wei Xiaohao/China Daily]

Other swimmers to lower national records in the 25m pool last week included Qin Haiyang (men's 50m and 100m breaststroke — 26.12 and 56.31), Zhao Jun'er (men's 200m butterfly — 1:49.61), and Yu Yiting (women's 100m individual medley — 58.27).

"I'm focusing more on the short distances this year," said Yu, who won 200m medley silver at last year's worlds. "My goal is simply to be better than last year's result. The runner-up finish was a regret and I was so close to the gold medalist. So a focus of training has been leveling up my physical strength in order to be ready for tough tests at the worlds."

Team China won seven medals, including four gold, at last year's world short-course championships in Abu Dhabi to rank sixth in the medal table. At the 2018 edition in Hangzhou, Team China ranked fifth with 13 medals in total, including three gold.

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from