By Sportswriter Li Jia
SHENYANG, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- Olympic champion Sun Yang took down the men's 200m freestyle Asian record with a personal best of 1 minute and 44.47 seconds at the 12th Chinese National Games here on Friday.
Sun, winner of the 400m and 1,500m free at the London Olympics, led all the way to win the final. The previous Asian record was 1:44.80 held by South Korea's elite Park Tae Hwan, who took the silver with Sun at the London Games.
"I didn't expect the result," said the 21-year-old Sun, whose previous best was 1:44.93. "I expected to swim around 1:45, and my coach asked me to swim in 1:46. I caught a cold here and didn't feel good, but I want to perform my best."
The 1:44.47 was the world second fastest time of the year, which could earn Sun a silver at the Barcelona worlds. France's Yannick Agnel, Olympic and world champion of the event, held the fastest time of the year in 1:44.20.
Sun collected the 400m, 800m and 1,500 free golds at the Barcelona World Championships, matching a feat previously achieved only by Australian Grant Hackett in the 2005 Montreal worlds.
The distance freestyle swimmer has already set his eye on the short distance, and the 200m title gave him some encouragement.
"I am happy with the time since I didn't train well this year," said Sun, who will also have a try in the 100m free at the National Games. "Agnel of France is taller and younger than me, and he is much stronger in the 200m free. But I think I am able to compete with him and other European and American swimmers."
Sun was registered in seven events at the National Games. He won the 400m free on Wednesday and helped Zhejiang to claim the 4x100m free relay title Thursday. Sun will take part in the 100m free heats and 4x200m free relay on Saturday.
"I have never taken part in so many events in such a short time before," said the swimming star. "And I know that tomorrow will be very tiring. But as an athlete, I have to overcome all the difficulties. I will take a good rest today and be well prepared for Saturday."
Lowering the expectations in the 100m free, Sun said, "I will take it as an exercise. I don't expect to win."
However, Sun's long-term coach Zhu Zhigen wants him to become an all-distance freestyle swimmer in the future.
"Sun also has some advantage in short distance," said the coach. "I hope he can make breakthrough."
Also Friday, Barcelona World Championships women's 50m backstroke runner-up Fu Yuanhui won the 100m back for Zhejiang in 59.64. She timed 59.36 earlier Friday at semifinals.
World champion Zhao Jing came second in 59.92, while Liao Yali of Hunan was third in 1:00.10.
The men's 100m back title was taken by Xu Jiayu of Zhejiang in 53.43, while the women's 100m breaststroke title went to Zhao Jin of Shanxi in 1:07.28.