On August 21, Liu Xiang created a new world record for women’s 50m backstroke with 26.98 seconds. She broke the record of China’s Zhao Jing 27.06 seconds, which was won in the last World Championship of the high-tech swimwear era – the 2009 Rome World Water Sports Championships in Italy.
In that version of the tournament, the large-scale use of “shark skin” created 13 world records, after which the FINA (International Federation of International Federations) banned full-coverage and low-resistance high-tech swimsuits from appearing in international-level competitions.
The “shark skin” technology began around 2000 and continues to grow into 2009, entering the fifth generation. The extremely tight swimsuit simulates the structure of shark skin and can be worn seven or eight times, but it helps to reduce water resistance.
At the time, the technical research on “shark skin” was confidential, but it caused unfairness to the team because smaller countries could not afford the manufacturing costs of these litigations.
Liu Xiang is a talented swimmer. At the Incheon Asian Games in 2014, this edition of the silver medal owner Fu Yuanhui won two women’s 50m and 100m backstroke champions. Although Liu’s 50-meter freestyle record has not even been completed in 27 seconds.
Both swimmers were born in 1996, but Liu is six months younger than Fif. During the women’s 50-meter backstroke in the 2015 Kazan World Swimming Championships in Russia, Fu Ying won the gold medal and Liu won the gold medal in the third place.
Fu also won the bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and won the silver medal in the same event at the 2017 World Water Sports Championships in Budapest, Hungary. It seems that no other Chinese women can surpass Fu in this field.
However, Liu did not give up and continue to challenge himself. After receiving the training of Australia’s top swimming coach Matt Brown, he achieved the Ning Zetao 100-meter freestyle in five weeks, and Liu’s ability continued to grow. Today, all her efforts are clearly paying off.
The world record of the last Asian Games took place in 2002, set by Japan’s Kitajima Kosuke in the men’s 200m breaststroke.