Sun Yang claims 400m free title at China National Swimming Championship
Updated 10:13, 25-Mar-2019
Chinese swimmer Sun Yang on Sunday claimed the title for men's 400m freestyle with a record time of 3 minutes 43.73 seconds at 2019 China National Swimming Championship in Qingdao, eastern China. 
Ji Xinjie, Sun's closest rival with a 4-second deficit, finished with 3 minutes 47.88 seconds for silver, while Meng Rui, 3 minutes 51.48 seconds, grabbed the bronze. 
Sun's performance easily takes over as the top time in the world this season, marking the only swimmer to delve under the 3:45 threshold thus far.
"My physical condition is not that good as I had a tough training session before I came here," said Sun.
"Yes, I am satisfied with the result."
Earlier in the 400 meters preliminaries, Sun Yang paid tribute to former teammate Kenneth To after the Hong Kong record breaker's shock death at the age of 26.
"I am not fighting for myself. Salute to my mates, Kenneth To."
Sun teamed up with Kenneth To at the 2017 China National Games in Tianjin where they won silver in a joint relay team for the 4x100 meters.
"Your love and passion for swimming will always be in our hearts, thank you for everything you've given to swimming," Sun posted on his Weibo account after Kenneth To passed away.
In women's section, world champion Wangjian Jiahe edged Li Bingjie to take the women's 400m freestyle in 4:03.77, as Tianjin's Dong Jie ranked third.