Zhang Lin Obliterates World Record in 800 m Freestyle by 6 1/2 Seconds


I watched the swimming in the Olympics only knowing Wu Peng, but then this cutie grabbed my attention when he got silver in the 400 m freestyle…only 0.58 seconds behind Park Taehwan.  Even though he was sad about his loss, he was so adorable in the videos, and looked like actor Tong Dawei, except so much sweeter and cuter…and now you know why I watch sports. But, he really was one of my favorites at the Games (not an easy thing considering I loved the entire Chinese gymnastics, diving and badminton, men’s volleyball, etc teams). And now at the World Championships in Italy he dominated  in the 800m race, beating second place  by a full three seconds.

Article from Yahoo news:

Zhang Lin made the first World Championships swimming gold for a Chinese man one to remember here on Wednesday, demolishing Aussie great Grant Hackett‘s world record in winning the 800m freestyle.

Zhang sliced six-and-a-half seconds off the previous world record of 7:38.65, set by Hackett at the 2005 World Championships in Montreal. That was the first time the event was swum by men in world competition.

“I’m more than five seconds quicker than Hackett’s record and I’m still surprised,” Zhang said. “I can’t believe it.”

Zhang seized the lead from Tunisia’s Olympic 1500m free champion Oussama Mellouli at the 200m mark and never gave it back.

Less than three-tenths of a second separated them with 100m to go, but despite the blazing pace Zhang had enough on the final lap to pull away for a convincing victory.

Mellouli, the defending 800m free world champion, was also under Hackett’s previous world record, but his 7:35.27 was good enough only for silver.

Canadian Ryan Cochrane was third in 7:41.92.

As in Beijing, Zhang teared up at the medals ceremony, but he said the emotions flowing through him were different this time around.

“At the Olympics I cried tears of sadness because I lost the gold medal but this time they were tears of joy because this is the first World Championship gold medal for a Chinese man,” he said.

After that painful 400m free defeat in Beijing, Zhang said, he put a picture of Park in his room and looked at it every day for motivation. Now he might expand his gallery.

“Maybe I’ll put another one of Hackett in my room because he’s my idol,” Zhang said. (Awww)

Zhang admitted he was nervous before the race. Park’s sensational failure to reach the 400m free final had put Asian hopes on Zhang’s shoulders. He finished third in a race in which German Paul Biedermann bagged the gold ahead of Mellouli.

“Before the final I told my coach that I don’t know how to swim, I felt a lot of pressure,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to win this, now I hope I can win the 1500m.”


Note: There’s controversy over the use of the sleaker, newer swimsuits that make people go faster. But he didn’t wear one in the 400m race, while the opponent, Biederman did. If he did wear it, he could have probably won, considering he was second in that race in the Olympics, and Park Taehwan, who won it, failed to qualify for the race.

For the 800 m race both he and second place Mellouli wore it, but Zhang still got ahead by a whole 3 seconds.

Celebratory picspam!

(disclaimer: events may not have occurred in this order)



Getting ready….



He makes both the shirt and the suit look good…


Muscles all ready for the race…


Swimming his little heart out


Just out fo the water, wondering what his time is…


Sees the time, and BAM, he gets all FIERCE for the first time in his life.


And like all good sportsmen…8294d116336d7630962b4300


Chomps down.


Then, he cries.647d8d5464a22d373b29350c

With his teammates on vacation:6efb6a63947d75430d33fa0b


Amusement parks tire the athletes out…


And when he was even younger he got to meet spongebob. So precious.


And two pics of poor cutie Wu Peng…who was good, and was actually more promoted than Zhang Lin  prior to the Olympics, but hasn’t got nothing so far. It’s okay, Wu Peng. You’re still the third best looking on the Chinese swim team.


18 thoughts on “Zhang Lin Obliterates World Record in 800 m Freestyle by 6 1/2 Seconds

  1. @bubble5
    Of the people I’ve seen, this guy:

    This guy’s cute too, but I can’t decide if he’s better looking than Wu Peng or not:

    Oh, I just read the stuff Cavic said…he’s really got it out for Phelps, huh? Childish considering in the Olympics Phelps was in many races and had to swim more than Cavic did and still had the strength to push down on the timer hard enough.

    During the 1500m semifinals at the Olympics (the only semifinals for any event that I did watch) Zhang Lin did ok…he was in one of the closer to the middle lanes, and then for the finals he just simply fell behind, drained or something.

    Hmmm….now that I think about it, Zhang Lin would be in sports what Wang Yuexin is in music. I like a lot of artists sparingly, not really love, just like, but for the ones I play favorites with, I really play favorites with.

    Sorry you had to take the brunt of that at the beginning of this post. It’s perhaps better that Wang Yuexin doesn’t release new music for me to post, just in case someone said his voice was bad…

  2. Phelps can use the Jaked; Cavic (sore loser he is >_>) has already called him out on being arrogant and such and that he should switch to the polyurethane suits if he really thinks the suits give that much of an advantage. Speedo’s contract is for endorsement only – he just has to endorse the Speedo brand. If he needs another suit to win, they’ll allow it. I, for one, hopes he does wear the suit just this once, so we can kinda gauge how much difference the suit really makes.

    The reason I didn’t have a problem with his breaking records with the LZR is mostly because those a number of the records broken were already held by him without the LZR in the 2004 Olympics. Not that I liked that he wore the LZR in the 2008 Olympics, either (hence why I’m not a fan), but he’d already proven himself to be a heck of swimmer. It is rather hypocritical for him to say that, but there’s little room for doubt as to his abilities. Mind, I’m perfectly happy to see ALL polyurethane-enhanced suits and different suit lengths leave competitive swimming; takes the guesswork out of the mess. Even now, you can still find debate about whether or not Ian Thorpe’s were legit because of his full-body suit, and that was a long time ago! >_>

    Personally, I just hope the really good swimmers are allowed a fair chance to show off their skill and hardwork.

    Distance can make a pretty big difference in how a well an athlete does. Given that Zhang Lin dominated the 800m, I’d say he’s found his niche. It does seem untimely for Olympic gold, but it’s hardly out of the question. And yeah, that reasoning does make sense; I guess he didn’t have anything to lose in wearing it, considering his closest competitor was, too.

  3. cfensi: “It’s okay, Wu Peng. You’re still the third best looking on the Chinese swim team.”

    >>lol, whose the 2nd best looking one in the Chinese swim team then?

  4. @Nepheliad

    OK…well I read from Chinese reports that Zhang Lin was signed up by the coach for the 800 m…he didn’t have that event before, and he didn’t really put as much hope into it as the 400 m, where he wore the old speedo.Maybe it was, a well, I’ll use the Jaked and see what happens because I don’t have anything to lose kind of deal.

    I’m so glad they found an event for him…one that really seems to match him, since before all he had was the 400m and the 1500m. And Park Taehwan who also does the 400m still has the advantage being two years younger than Zhang. This way…maybe Zhang still has a chance in the 800 for the Olympics.

    And Phelps apparently has a contract with Speedo….he can’t use the Jaked. No doubt he’s great, but I find it a bit hypocritical that he’s said “next year swimming will be swimming again. You’re going to have to do all the work and there’s not going to be a suit that does it for you.” He was the one who was the pin-up boy of the newest tech on the scene, the LZR racer (50% polyurethane), during the Beijing Olympics.
    And many countries during the Olympics, had the same problem he has now – contracts with companies so that they couldn’t change suits.

  5. Well, Zhang Lin’s good…but I doubt he’ll perform so well at, say, the Olympics. The timing’s a bit off for him…he’ll be twenty-five then, which is a bit over the prime age for swimming. Which makes it even more unfortunate that his first championship has all this suit nonsense behind it. His chances to show himself aren’t too many…

    There may be other Chinese swimmers, then…but I doubt I’ll like them as much…I really do like attitude and Zhang Lin was the right mix of sweetness and humbleness out of the pool and drive to do well.

  6. its funny, i was just reading about this guy, before i decided to check cfensi. hes crazy, he beat the record by 6 SECONDS. might be china’s next, yao ming, liu xiang, guo jingjing…. now there is zhang lin!

  7. Ah, one last thing (I swear, I’ll stop after this – sorry about the flood of comments) – at least this whole mess has gotten me interested in Zhang Lin. I’ll be anticipating great things from him in future competitions, when the suits are banned. =)

  8. Oh, and it is always good to see hard work come to fruition; by not caring as much about attitudes and such, I mean that I don’t follow athletes out of the pool/field/what-have-you. All I knew about Zhang Lin was his name and how he did at the 2008 Olympics…

    I just wish that fruit wasn’t tainted by the suits. I guess that’s the part that disappoints me about his victory.

  9. Haha, I don’t pay too much attention to that sort of thing – it’s all about the skill and putting on a good competition to me. That’s partially why I’m so biased against the suits; it’s not as fun of a competition when the playing field isn’t level.

    I guess it’s a bit of a matter of honor; the first headline I read posted his results with Phelps’ results, which I didn’t initially pay mind to – until I happened upon the article I posted. If not for that rather unflattering junction, I probably wouldn’t have thought nearly as much of it. I totally understand his wanting to level the playing field – I suppose I’m just very biased against the suit and kinda see it as being cheap, so his using the suit cheapened the victory for me.

    The sad part, to me, is that with his three second lead over Mellouli, he might’ve won even without the suit; he was fairly close in the 400m. That’d have made for one heck of a story. Without the suits, he’d almost certainly be an indisputable winner.

    FINA did ban the suits earlier this year – then promptly caved to the suit-making companies who complained that it would reduce their sales. I’m guessing sponsorship is involved in this somehow. Hence my “SCREW THE SUITS” comment – I really, really hate the difference the suit makes. That tirade was nothing against the swimmer – I’m just dumb and didn’t make it clear enough.

    These championships have been in the headlines ever since the prelims, with people predicting the mess that would ensue. And sure enough, ensue it has.

  10. Well, like most athletes I fangirl, I liked Zhang Lin partially for skill and partially for his attitude; he was really sad when he lost to Park Taehwan, and he was determined to figure out what to do to improve himself afterward. I’ve seen a lot of athletes, Chinese and not Chinese, not reach their potential because of making excuses, not having the right attitude.

    So I was pretty enthused to see that actually bear fruit for him…If he worked so hard just to have a suit take away the first opportunity to show how he improved, then it would be frustrating…it does seem like he gave up principle, but I don’t see how he could not want to level the playing field.

    I guess sports always have a few inconsistencies but swimming got a bit ridiculous around the time of the Beijing Olympics, and overall I am really mad Fina didn’t ban the suits earlier. They could have…why did the wait so long? The Beijing Olympics was already a good indication that companies were going all out in suit manufacturing.

    Although ironically I wasn’t paying much attention to these championships, but I will be now.

  11. “And if reading that, someone thinks Zhang Lin = Biederman, then it’s just so annoying because Zhang Lin tried taking the high road, and ending up getting screwed over as much as Phelps.”

    The thing that annoys me about what Zhang Lin did was that he chose to wear the suit after losing to it, and knowing that they’ve been banned for future years. I just kinda feel like that’s a bit of a compromise of principle, but I suppose that that’s not really something that should be held against him. Heck, if Phelps had lost the 200m butterfly because he hadn’t worn the suit, his not switching to the suit might have just been seen as the folly of arrogance.

    “Some of the races were fair: all the competitors wore the Jaked. Some were not: some wore them, some didn’t. People won’t distinguish.”

    I think if they standardized the Jaked/X-Glide suits, it’d be just fine. As it is, it’s more FINA’s fault for not making the playing field level.

    LOL, I’d just had an argument with my dad yesterday about track and field, as it were, and the validity of 1) the starting block records versus old records, and 2) the material in the shoes. Technology plays a huge part in competitive sports these days, which sometimes has unfortunate consequences.

  12. Ah, I don’t generally have favorites in sports, just admiration for the ones who do well, so I didn’t realize how touchy a subject it was.

    As for that line, it comes from a biased article – I should’ve made it clearer that I didn’t have that opinion myself. He clearly won over Mellouli, after all, and I really, really doubt that Cochrane could’ve pulled ahead of him, even without the suit. He’s definitely the best freestyle competitor there. I just wish he hadn’t had his record tainted by the suit, ’cause with his speed, like I mentioned in the second post, I think he had a chance of taking the record even without the suit.

    The article is definitely biased, which I knew (it’s by an Australian newspaper, so not unexpected), but it was the first one I saw to mention the Jaked 01 swimsuit. Feel free to remove the link if you want – it is rather insulting, now that I’m rereading with a cooler head myself.

    Sorry about this whole hub-bub – that really, really was not my intention. =<

  13. *coughs* Sorry for writing an essay. I did say Zhang Lin was my one of my favorites out of the entire Chinese Olympic team, which is not a small feat.

    This was the line I was mad at:

    “none of these competitors would’ve won without their polyurethane suit, which is something else ZL’s coach admitted.”

    ….Because I feel Zhang Lin would have won if everyone was swimming butt naked….both the 400 m and the 800 m.

    The article makes it not about the win at all. And if reading that, someone thinks Zhang Lin = Biederman, then it’s just so annoying because Zhang Lin tried taking the high road, and ending up getting screwed over as much as Phelps.

    Why I’m annoyed:

    Some of the races were fair: all the competitors wore the Jaked. Some were not: some wore them, some didn’t. People won’t distinguish.

    Overall, Swimming is still an imperfect sport, and even before the Olympics, the sport was changing…it’s not track and field.

  14. Please, calm down CFensi… I’m not insulting Zhang Lin, and there’s no reason to take it so personally – I’m just expressing an opinion. Sorry if I’ve offended you in any way.

    I clarified my point in the second post; I was in a bit of an uproar when I first heard about it ’cause I’m already miffed at all the records broken with the suits that may not have been. Like I said, he would definitely have won – I just don’t like that he felt he had to don a “super suit” to do so.

    I also admitted the article was biased, and it did initially color my views a little more strongly, but jeez. ._. I recant how strongly I’d written my first post, but I don’t back down on my point – these suits are annoying and casts shadows of doubt on everyone wearing them. I give ZL the win, definitively, for that matter, which I’ve never disagreed with, though I still say he hasn’t proven himself to reach Hackett yet, just ’cause of the suit. I just happen not to be able to edit my previous posts. ^^;

    I won’t post any more comments on the issue if it offends you (delete my comments if they’re really that bad) – just please don’t take it as an affront or insult or something – I sincerely didn’t mean anything of the kind.

  15. When mentioning Phelps, I was talking about his win at the Worlds yesterday (today? Not sure about the time). The Olympics pools were definitely another wash, and I remember a hub-bub about that, too, among the swim fan communities; that was alleviated because at least everyone in the current playing field was evenly set. That’s also why I doubt the records will be purged; I’m just annoyed that after the suits get banned, they probably won’t be beaten. I believe the LZR and other patched polyurethane suits are also banned, along with full-body suits, so basically, it’s kinda like the steroid records in 80s. Ironically, that also means people like Phelps and ZL will never beat their own records, even if they get better. IMO, they ought to either turn the clock back on the records and keep the second set as a show of technology (hey, ZL would get to prove himself without the suit’s shadow), or standardize suits so everyone has the same footing.

    It’s also notable that in Phelps’ case, quite a number of the world and Olympic records were already held by him in the butterfly, which kinda just made the point that he’s a good swimmer, multiple times over.

    ZL is definitely better than Mellouli, but because of the suits, there’s no way of knowing whether they both were truly better than Hackett. Biedermann was wearing an X-Glide (sorry, corrective streak), but that doesn’t justify thinking ZL break records in the 800m, just that he’s obviously better than Mellouli (which was already obvious, natch). The longer the swim, the great the advantage the suit gives, so that really calls the gap into question.

    Would he have won anyway? Definitely – Mellouli was no match for him, and Cochrane lagged by way too much to have beaten either of them without the suit. Could he have broken the record without it? Quite possibly, perhaps even likely. But by 6 1/2 seconds? No friggin’ way, and even his coach admits it. It’s really more about the ethics of wearing the suit; if he’d won without it, I’d have been showering praise about how he overcame odds, beat records, and even with Mellouli wearing one – it’d have made for one heck of a story. Instead, I can’t help thinking that Hackett might have been gypped.

  16. I am mad too, because Zhang Lin’s win is diminished by the use of those suits. It’s not like the other competitors weren’t wearing them, second place certainly was…and Zhang still got ahead of him by a full 3 seconds.

    In fact, Zhang was wearing the old LZD up until the 800m. He didn’t wear it for the 400m, which got him screwed over since Biderman, the winner, did wear one. If there were no suits, Zhang Lin could have gotten two golds, considering he was silver in the event at the Olympics, and Park Taehwan, who had gold, somehow failed to even qualify.

    He’s not Hackett, but Zhang Lin WON FAIRLY, and got even bronze at a major disadvantage, …but his win will be during one of the most controversial swim competitions, which takes away some of his hard-earned victory.

    And the article reads like they’re pestering or strong-arming Zhang Lin’s coach to degrade his own student all for the sake of Aussie pride. And people always think nationalistic badgering is just Chinese? – that is way worse.

    Btw…Phelps broke a lot of records at the Olympics, but Beijing’s pool was one of the finest built, much deeper than past Olympics, which gave everyone an advantage over past Olympic competitors. Not to mention that they did wear more streamlined suits, including Phelps, just not the even more advanced polyurethane ones. But no one is calling for a removal of THOSE records.

    Zhang at the Olympics became the third fastest person in the world in the 400m. Could he have gotten gold in the 400m at Italy? I think so.

    So, so mad at the suits which muddle real accomplishments from those that weren’t.

    Zhang Lin DOES NOT deserve to be put on the same light as Biederman, Nepheliad
    . Biederman was someone who came out of nowhere and took away not only Phelps’s gold, but Zhang’s as well.

    Screw anyone who reads that article and thinks Zhang won on an unfair playing. Biederman won Phelps because Phelps didn’t wear a Jaked suit. Biederman won Zhang because Zhang didn’t wear the suit either. When Zhang won, it was when the playing field was even.

  17. “The time shocked Cotterell who admits Zhang can only do about “20 per cent” of the main sets Hackett completed, yet blew the Australian’s time out of the water with the aid of a Jaked01 full polyurethane suit.”

    SCREW YOU, polyurethane suit. Either everybody ought to wear them, or nobody at all. The advantage given to people by these suits is ridiculous; even Zhang Lin’s coach admits it. It’s why Phelps lost the 200m freestyle; none of these competitors would’ve won without their polyurethane suit, which is something else ZL’s coach admitted.


    Biased source? Sure, but a quick search confirms that ZL was wearing one of those friggin’ Jaked 01 suits that have already stirred up hives of controversy. Sooner or later, competitive sporting might just turn into a tech-race like NASCAR – who’s got the best gear?

    The enactment of the ban on those suits can’t come quickly enough. The records gotten with them ought be purged, too, IMO, but I guess it’s too big a mess to try figuring out when to go back to. Not that I’m a Phelps fangirl, but that he can still break records without one of them is just so much awesome, and kudos to Hackett for trying without it, too. He’s still legendary in my books.

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