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
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
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

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all