World record holder Qin Haiyang won the men's 200-meter breaststroke in dominant fashion Thursday as China's swimming gold rush continued, and Japan ended the day without a gold medal in the Asian Games pool.
Qin touched the wall in a meet record of 2 minutes, 7.03 seconds, 1.64 ahead of Chinese compatriot Dong Zhihao. Japan's Ippei Watanabe placed third, 2.88 behind the winner, on the second-to-last day of the swimming program at Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre's Aquatic Sports Arena.
The 24-year-old Qin is competing in the Asian version of the Olympics, just two months after he shattered the 200 breaststroke world record with 2:05.48 in Fukuoka, Japan, and became the first swimmer to complete a sweep of the three breaststroke events in a single edition of the world championships.
"I was hoping to go under 2:07, and I wasn't far off," Qin said. "It definitely is different when we are hosts. A lot more is within your control. We are pampered in that sense."
Qin won the 100 meters on Monday and will try to complete a breaststroke treble in Friday's 50.
China collected five gold medals from the day's seven events, including both of the relays, while South Korea claimed two individual golds.
"Qin is really the world's No. 1 breaststroker," Watanabe said. "I know he isn't in top form, but he can still turn in a time like 2:07 consistently."
"I did my best for my poor (health) condition. At the previous Asian Games, we Japanese had a 1-2 finish in the 200, with me taking silver. China did 1-2 this time, and Qin is fresh off setting a world record. I'll take home this disappointing feeling and try various things to give myself a chance to win."
China's Zhang Yufei edged Hong Kong's Siobhan Bernadette Haughey by 0.08 to win the women's 50-meter freestyle in 24.26 seconds for her fifth gold of the Hangzhou Games.
Chinese compatriot Ye Shiwen took the women's 200 breaststroke title in 2:23.84, while Japan's Runa Imai managed to claim bronze in the event.
South Korea's Kim Woo Min won the men's 800 freestyle in 7:46.03. The men's 50 butterfly gold went to compatriot Baek In Chul, who clocked 23.29.
"I was in the water but felt like I was flying," Baek said. "I wasn't feeling 100 percent in qualifying. I felt a lot better in the final. Still, I made some small mistakes. I could have performed better."