Chinadaily / Three-time Olympic gold medalist and nine-time world champion Sun Yang will headline the field at the April 13-18 Chinese National Swimming Championships in Taiyuan, Shanxi province.

Announced by the General Administration of Sport of China (GASC) during a Monday media conference in Beijing, the championships will also function as a tryout for the Asian Games in Indonesia from Aug 18-Sept 2.

“Sun’s overseas training is going pretty well,” said Cheng Hao, head of the GASC’s swimming department.

“Our champion should have an outstanding performance this year.”

Sun, who won freestyle gold in the 400m and 1500m at the 2012 London Olympics and 200m at the 2016 Rio Games, had a stunning performance at last year’s nationals, claiming five titles.

“Sun is training in Sydney and we have been communicating quite often,” said Cheng.

“Based on his current training status, everything is very promising. I think he will have a good performance at this year’s championships.”

Along with the professional competition, this year’s championships will launch a junior meet for young swimmers.

“This year marks a reform of the Chinese Swimming Association,” said Cheng.

“Based on that reform, we will nurture more competition for young swimmers to display their skills on the international stage and also focus on encouraging more young talent to join the sport.”

The national meet also affords Shanxi province a chance to refine its sports development ahead of hosting the 2019 China National Youth Games.

“Hosting the national swimming championships will help us to accumulate the experience of hosting national-level sports events before the 2019 China National Youth Games,” said Zhao Xiaochun, director of Shanxi Sports Bureau.

“We will introduce sports culture exhibitions during the championships with the help of many new technologies to display the charm of our outstanding swimmers and to show the unique character of our province.

“There will also be many interactive activities for spectators to let them be closer to the sport and the stars.

“This will be a swimming extravaganza for everyone.”

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