BEIJING – Liu Xiang broke the Asian record in the women’s 50m freestyle as Olympic champion Sun Yang claimed a comfortable victory in men’s 400m freestyle at the FINA Champions Swim Series here on Saturday.
China wrapped up four more golds on the second day and a total of nine gold medals from the two-day Champions Series in Beijing.
Liu achieved the first gold for China on the second day of the Beijing leg and clocked 24.03 for a new Asian record, improving by 0.01 her performance on January 15. Ranomi Kromowidjojo, from the Netherlands, finished second in 24.38.
“I did not expect to swim the Asian record and win all the four events I took from Shenzhen and Beijing leg. The results boost my confidence that I want to swim better at the Olympic Games,” said the 23-year-old.
In the men’s 400m free, Sun dominated the race after 100 meters and won in 3:44.98, slower than his winning time in Shenzhen (3:44.07). Danas Rapsys of Lithuania came to third (3:49.62) behind Ji Xinjie (3:47.04).
“Three titles in five days, I am pretty happy with my performance as I keep smooth and steady in every race. I am also happy to swim with the best swimmers in the world, such as Danas and the others at the beginning of the year. It is the only international event we can have before the Olympic Games, it is like a rehearsal for us,” said the Chinese captain.
Japanese swimmers Ryosuke Irie took victory in men’s 200m backstroke (1:55.55) and former world record holder Ippei Watanabe took the gold in men’s 200m breaststroke (2:08.40).
Hungarian Iron Lady Katinka Hosszu seemed rusty as she was denied by her teammate Liliana Szilagyi in the 200m butterfly (2:08.56) to (2:08.37) with the latter losing in her favored 200m individual medley (2:09.93) to Sydney Pickrem of Canada (2:09.26).
Kira Toussaint of the Netherlands topped the women’s 100m backstroke (59.64) and Matthew Temple of Australia snatched a gold in men’s 100m butterfly (51.71). Michael Andrew of the United States walked home with a gold in men’s 50m backstroke in 24.92.
About 70 top swimmers from 26 countries and regions competed in the FINA Champions Swim Series.