Beijing: With two titles in hand, China’s Xu Jiayu and Zhang Yufei both became double winners on the first day of the FINA/airweave Swimming World Cup 2017 at the National Aquatic Center here, while world champions Chad Le Clos of South Africa and Katinka Hosszu of Hungary also grabbed two gold medals apiece.
Newly-crowned world champion Xu showed his excellent start and turn skills by winning the men’s 50m backstroke in 23.09 seconds, ahead of Pavel Sankovich of Belarus 23.11 and Junya Koga of Japan 23.34 on Friday.
Xu later joined the winning team in the mixed 4X50m medley relay, together with Yan Zibei, Zhang Yufei and Liu Xiang 1:39.10, beating Australia and the Netherlands into second and third respectively.
“It was a great challenge for me that I swam three finals tonight, since I did not train very much these days. I took the advantage of my start and turn skills with under-water kicks. I was really exhausted,” said Xu, who also finished third in 100m butterfly, well behind the winner Le Clos.
Le Clos dominated the men’s 200 freestyle in 1:41.81 and 100 butterfly 49.18.
“Today was great. I have competed in Beijing for many years since 2011. It is a great pool that I was happy to win tonight. In fact I was a little bit nervous because I had a long trip to Beijing. I just arrived for one day. I really did not know whether I was fit or not for the competition. I guess I will be better tomorrow,” Le Clos said.
Olympic and world champion Hosszu snatched victories in the women’s 100m backstroke 56.34 and 100m individual medley 57.50.
“I love to come back here to Beijing and the audience very much. I could see some fans carrying the Hungary national flags. I did not take a break after the World Championship. I keep training and competing. I look forward to compete in the European Championships as my next goal,” said the Iron Lady.
The 15-year-old Wang Jianjiahe of China set a world junior record in the women’s 400m freestyle 3:59.69, followed by world silver medallist Li Bingjie 4:01.75.
“I did not expect to break the world junior record at all. I need to improve my turns in the future,” Wang said.
For Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden, she was happy with her winning time 23.40 in the 50m freestyle, beating Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands 23.47 and Cate Campbell of Australia 23.67.
Daiya Seto of Japan broke the meet record in the men’s 400m individual medley in 3:58.20. The previous mark was 3:58.69 held by Thomas Fraser-Holmes of Australia in 2014.
In other events, Zhang Yufei clocked 2:05.02 to win the women’s 200m butterfly, Yasuhiro Koseki of Japan claimed the men’s 200m breaststroke 2:03.43, Alia Atkinson took the title in women’s 50 breaststroke 29.57.
The 2017 Fina short course World Cup is made up of eight stops and Beijing is the sixth, ahead of the last two stops in Tokyo and Singapore.