Swimming a 2:09.45 less than a year ago did not hold back teenage Chinese 200m butterfly gold medalist Liu Zige. The swimmer recorded a remarkable 2:04.19 in winning the gold last night in Beijing. Zige demolished the world record held by Jessicah Schipper. (AFP) (Swim News link) (she also swam a 2:09 this spring)
It was a remarkable achievement in the pool by two women who have done little before, with Liu clocking two minutes 04.18 seconds to shave over a second off the previous world record held by Australian Jessicah Schipper.
Jiao's time was also under the old world mark, leaving Schipper to trail home in third place.
"I didn't feel pressure before the competition, I tried to relax," said Liu.
"And in the race I just swam at my own pace, not caring about others. My coach said to me that we will have two Chinese swimmers in the final, so you don't need to force yourself to win gold, you just need to try your best."
It was China's first swimming gold of the Games and only its third since its prime at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, when it won four.
Since then the squad has had to fight the stigma of doping scandals and managed just two titles in the following three Games -- one in 1996 and one in 2004.
From the Sydney Morning Herald:
Liu won the event in a staggering 2min.04.16s, an amazing 1.22s inside the mark Schipper has set back in 2006 at the Pan Pacific Championships in Canada, to claim China's first gold medal in the pool at these Games.
Schipper swam a 2:06.26. So in 2 years she swam 0.86 slower from her old record of 2:05.40, while Liu improved by 5.29 seconds in less than a year.
Interesting. Here are the best 200M fly times in 2008. Where were the Chinese before this?
Current Olympic champion:
Otylia Jedrzejczak (Poland) 2:06.05
Jessicah Schipper (Australia) 2:05.40 August 17, 2006
1. Yuko Nakanishi (Japan) 2:06.38 April 15, 2008
2. Aurore Mongel (France) 2:06.59 March 23, 2008
3. Jemma Lowe (UK) 2:06.64 March 31, 2008
4. Emese Kovacs (Hungary) 2:06.71 March 23, 2008
6. Jessicah Schipper (Australia) 2:06.82 March 22, 2008