Chinese nationals, Shaoxing, Day 6 Finals:
World champion and record holder Sun Yang, coached locally and at Miami on the Australian Gold Coast with Dennis Cotterell, laid down a leading 14:42.30 marker on his way to an assault on the 1500m crown in London this summer that would make him the first Chinese man ever to win an Olympic swimming title.
The helm of the world rankings for this year had been held at 14:47.38 by Olympic 400m champion Park Tae Hwan (KOR), with the 14:55.30 of Britain's Daniel Fogg last month the third inside 15mins. Now there are four, silver in Shaoxing going to Hebei's Hao Yun, in 14:58.44, Dai Jun third in 15:09.39, and all in the final home in 15:24.86.
"I am just back from Australia and I had no time to make adjustment," Sun told Xinhua after the 30-lap race. "So the result is good enough for me. My coach had expected me to swim within 14:45.00. I was quite relaxed in the final and still have room for improvement."
Hao, 16, became the 122nd member of the sub-15min crew in textile suits after going missing from the world rankings last year. In 2010, he gave warning of what was to come with a 15:18.75 effort as a 14-year-old.
In the midst of a session full of close calls, Sun Ye, Shanghai, led the way home in the 100m breaststroke in 1:07.30 ahead of Liu Xiaoyu, Liaoning, 1:07.88, Ji Liping, Shanghai, 1:07.90, and Zhao Jin, Shanxi, 1:07.99. Perhaps China ought to be pressing FINA to abandon any thoughts of mixed relays and going instead for stroke relays of the same gender.
The depth in standards in China is noteworthy; all home in 15:24.86 over 1500m; the women's 100m breaststroke final closed in 1:08.70; last home in the women's 200m backstroke final 2:12.07; and eight women between 25.24 and 25.78 in the freestyle dash.
Results at a glance:
Men's 1500m freestyle:
Women's 50m freestyle:
Men's 50m freestyle:
Women's 200m backstroke:
Women's 100m breaststroke:
Men's 4x100 medley relay: