Friday, November 12, 2010

China, Japan dominate swimming heats

BEIJING - AUGUST 12:  (L-R) Nikolay Skvortsov ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
GUANGZHOU: The battle between China and Japan became a strategy session in the pool at the Asian Games Saturday as the rivals went head-to-head in heats ahead of the evening's finals.

China's Zhu Qianwei set the tone in the first event of the Games, qualifying with the best time in the women's 200 metre freestyle in one minute 59.83 seconds.

Zhu was followed by Japanese rival Haruka Ueda in 2:00.03 and teammate Hanae Ito in 2:00.03, as the fierce rivals kicked off their much awaited "duel in the pool."

"I think the people around me were foxing a little and swimming slow during the heat," Ito said.

"I am looking forward to a faster performance in the final."

In the women's 100m butterfly, Japan's Yuka Kato clocked the best time of 58.61, beating China's Olympic silver medalist Jiao Liuyang who touched in 59.03, while Hong Kong's Hannah Wilson was third quickest.

"I fell behind at the beginning after I had a slow start, then I just tried my best to catch up and I made it which was a nice way to start the competition," Kato said.

The surprise of the morning came in the men's 200m butterfly when Taiwan's Hsu Chi Chieh outpaced China's two-time defending Asiad champion Wu Peng, winning heat two in a time of 1:57.57 to Wu's 1:58.46.

Asian record holder and Olympic silver medalist Takeshi Matsuda from Japan was second fastest, finishing in 1:58.27 in heat three.

In a long-awaited match-up. arch-rivals Matsuda and Wu will go head-to-head in Saturday night's final.

The women's 50m breaststroke also saw China and Japan dominate with China's Zhao Jin finishing in 31.14, followed by teammate Wang Randi in 31.41 and Japan's Satomi Suzuki in 32.12.

"I wasn't totally satisfied with my performance in the second half of the race," Suzuki said. "I thought I was in really good condition, but it turned out I had swum a second slower than my personal best."

In other action, China's Huang Chaosheng out sprinted reigning Asian record holder from Japan Yuya Horihata in heat two of the men's 400m individual medley, posting the best time of the morning of 4:21.52.

Horihata placed second in 4:22.18, while South Korea's Jung Wonyong was third best.

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