Chinese swimmers fare well in 2010 
2010-December-22 Source: China View website
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Chinese swimmers impressed the world with a world record and top-class performances in 2010.

"China's swimming has made progress since the Beijing Olympics," said Yao Zhengjie, head coach of the Chinese swimming team.

The Chinese women's team smashed the 4x200 meters freestyle relay world record on Dec. 15 at the World Short Course Championships in Dubai, which was the first world record this year since the swimming governing body FINA banned high-tech suits in January, 2010.

Chen Qian, Tang Yi, Liu Jing and Zhu Qianwei surged to victory in a time of 7:35.94 to cut a massive three seconds off the previous mark set by the Netherlands two years ago in Manchester.

FINA had risked ending the year without a single world record established in the pool for the first time in 102 years, but the Chinese swimmers managed to set a historic world record without the help of high-tech suits.

Before the Short Course Championships, Chinese teenager Sun Yang came close to the men's 1,500m freestyle world record at the Guangzhou Asiad. The 19-year-old clocked 14:35.43 for the gold, which was only 0.87 second slower than Australian Grant Hackett's long-standing world record.

With three gold medals claimed at the Asiad, Sun is considered as one of China's title hopefuls for the London Olympic Games.

Sun said he was looking forward to the coming challenges involving swimming powerhouses the United States and Australia.

"Now I want to look to next year's world championships (in Shanghai) and the London Olympics to get a better result," he said.

China grabbed 24 of the 38 swimming gold medals on offer in Guangzhou, and one thing worth a mention was that most Chinese swimmers at the Asian Games are still in their teens.

The 14-year-old Ye Shiwen underlined the strength of China's younger generation of swimmers, winning the 200m individual medley after her earlier success over 400m at the Guangzhou Asiad.

Fifteen-year-old Shao Yiwen won the women's 400m freestyle and Li Xuanxu, 16, took 800m freestyle gold.

Besides, Beijing Olympic 200m butterfly silver medallist Jiao Liuyang and Rome backstroke world champion Zhao Jing, both 19, were in good form and clinched two gold medals each at the Asiad. Zhao set two world best results in 2010 at the Asiad.

The Chinese men's swimmers were progressing, too.

In the men's action in the Asian Games, Chinese swimmers pocketed seven of 16 gold medals, including the men's 4x200m freestyle relay which China had not won for 34 years.

Olympic 200m butterfly silver medallist Zhang Lin and Sun Yang will be the medal hopes for the men's events in the London Olympics.

Though Olympic champion Liu Zige didn't post any fabulous results this year, it was normal as the year was a "recharging" one for her. She skipped major competitions in 2010 including the Guangzhou Asiad.

The year might be a little tough for Rome world champion Zhang Lin, who lost to South Korean Park Tae Hwan three times at the Asiad and failed to win an individual gold.

However the coach said there was no need to worry.

"Zhang Lin had a busy year in 2009, and he was very tired this year and need time to make some adjustments," said Yao. "It was normal that he wasn't in his best."

The head coach wasn't carried away by the victorious Asian Games.

"After the Asian Games we will sum up our experiences and make our team better," he said. "The Asian Games are not the world championships or the Olympic Games. We are going to peak for big time."

Asked about the Shanghai Worlds in 2011 and London Games, Yao said: "We want four gold medals in Shanghai, and for the Olympic Games, I hope we can win more gold medals than in Beijing."

Editor: Olivia
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