After watching all the news about the chinese women coming in I was
curious to see how the women matched up against the men with respect to
national vs. world records. I ran in to a few difficulties...
1) I couldn't find Chinese National records, only Asian records. This
wasn't a problem for the women as nearly all the asian records are held
by chinese (except 1500 free & 200 ***), but was a problem for the
men where in contrast only the 50, 100 free and the 100 fly are held by
2) I couldn't find asian records more up to date than Nov '96
So I wrote down the asian records, noting where not held by chinese and
there just using them as an upper limit for chinese performance,
together with the world records and compared the differences.
The first thing that springs to notice (and I'll put these on an URL if
anyone's interested) was that the Chinese women, relatively, are really
poor at distance free and ***roke. Calculating the difference for
everything else is a piece of cake as a) they hold ALOT of world records
and b) where they don't the times are very close.
The men, on the other hand, don't hold any. The asian records, which for
the most part aren't Chinese are much more consistently slower than WR
and don't hold a candle to the women's.
This makes it hard to swallow "training routines, special diets, coached
from cradle and large population" arguments for success of Chinese
women. Why aren't the men comparably (if not equally) successful? How is
this glaring discrepancy explained.