HANGZHOU (China) — Breaststroke world champion and title favourite Qin Haiyang smashed the Asian Games record to surge into the 100m final on Monday as China set about shoring up their dominance in the Hangzhou pool.
China crushed Japan to claim the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay honours at the Asian Games in Hangzhou.
Their team of Cheng Yujie, Zhang Yufei, Wu Qingfeng and Yang Junxuan took home gold in a Games-record time of 3mins 33.96sec, well clear of Japan, with Hong Kong third.
The Chinese star caused a major upset at the world championships in Fukuoka in July when he won gold in 57.69 ahead of a stacked field in the absence of British great Adam Peaty, AFP reported.
Haiyang went on to complete an unprecedented clean sweep of the breaststroke titles, an achievement he is aiming to match at his home Asiad as he builds towards next year’s Paris Olympics.
Qin, the second-fastest ever over 100m after Peaty, was in a class of his own in the heats, touching in 58.35 to better the previous Games best set by Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki in 2018.
South Korea’s Choi Dong-yeol came in second — a gaping 1.55 seconds behind Qin.
Qin has already claimed a silver after finishing second to storming Olympic champion Wang Shun in the 200m medley on the opening night of action on Sunday.
Wang’s 1:54.62 was not only a new Asian record but made him the third-fastest man in history behind only swimming great Michael Phelps his fellow American Ryan Lochte.
It was one of seven gold medals won by the hosts, who swept all the titles on day one when a raft of Asian records were set.
Siobhan Haughey cruised into the 200m final as she looks to win Hong Kong’s first-ever Asian Games swimming gold.
Haughey did not compete at the 2018 Asiad due to a nagging foot injury, but has since become one of the top freestyle swimmers in the world.
After earning silver behind Australian star Ariarne Titmus at the Tokyo Olympics, she narrowly missed the medals at the July world championships.
But she reinforced her credentials with silver in Fukuoka over 100m behind flying Australian Mollie O’Callaghan.
Haughey qualified fifth-fastest in 2:00.75, conserving energy while capable of swimming under 1.54. China’s Li Bingjie (1:58.90) was best through the heats.
In other action, China’s Xu Jiayu backed up his gold medal in the 100m backstroke by qualifying fastest over 50m in 24.99.
China’s Wang Xueer led the field into the final of the women’s 50m backstroke in 27.59, while South Korea’s Ji Yuchan (21.84) was quickest in the men’s 50m freestyle.
Chinese teenager Pan Zhanle also made the 50m freestyle final, a day after swimming a monster 46.97 to shred the Asian record and take 100m gold. In the process, he became only the fifth man ever to go under 47 seconds.
Meanwhile, China’s Yu Yiting (2:14.02) was quickest in the women’s 200m medley heats, backing up her bronze medal performance in Fukuoka.