Yang and Ye demonstrate China’s growing power

 

The Aquatics Centre

From Hannah Miley an apology, from the rest of the swimming world a collective intake of breath.

Opening night in the pool went off script to an extent that would have even raised a Danny Boyle eyebrow; the eagerly anticipated collision between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte proved a damp squib and then Miley failed to deliver a desperate home nation its first medal.

Instead it was a story of remarkable Chinese domination and that may prove to be the lasting tale of the week’s events in the London Aquatics Centre. And it is from Chinese ranks that a swimmer to counter Lochte and Phelps as man of the meet could emerge.

Sun Yang won China’s first ever men’s gold in the pool with startling ease on Saturday night. Tomorrow night he is set to face Lochte in the final of the 200m freestyle in what will be one of the races of the week. And then comes the 1500m, on the final night, Yang’s banker gold medal – he is the world record holder. The Chinese do not have the depth to match the Americans and the Australians in the relays, but three gold medals are a real possibility for the ultra-confident Yang.

This morning he swam alongside Lochte in the heats for the 200m free. The two played cat and mouse with each other – by the end of each length the 20-year-old from Zhejiang province was edging ahead but then Lochte would pull him in on the turn and emerge in front. The two prowled down the final 50m keeping a wary eye on each other with the 6ft 6in Yang snaking out a long arm to take it on the touch – it will be some contest. The semi-finals are this evening.

Lochte, who took the first of a targeted six golds in the 400m individual medley on Saturday as Phelps’s challenge never materialised, was also impressed with the performance of Ye Shiwen, the 16-year-old who shattered the world record in the women’s event. Ye covered the final 50m of her race quicker than Lochte completed his. The American was easing up but it was nonetheless some turn of pace by Ye.

“We were talking about that at dinner,” said Lochte this morning. “It is pretty impressive. She’s fast – if she was there with me she might have beat me.”

Miley and the rest of the field had no answer to Ye, who is likely to double up with gold in the 200m IM later in the week – she is the current world champion.

“That was very fast,” said Miley. “For us it is an opportunity to learn from them. It's a privilege to be part of that race. It’s not very often you get to swim in the same waters as a world record holder. I do apologise to everybody that it wasn’t what everybody expected. For me, I gave it my all.”

Miley will also swim in the 200m IM – the heats are tomorrow, final on Tuesday – but given the form displayed by, among others, Ye, Beisel and Li Xuanxu, the 18-year-old who took 400m bronze, a place in the final may be the limit of her hopes.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea