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Chinese swimmer Lu envies Australian way
Liam FitzGibbon
22:57 AEST Mon Jul 30 2012

She beat Alicia Coutts to an Olympic silver medal but Chinese swimmer Lu Ying was in envy of Australia as she spoke out against her country's restrictive training methods.

Lu finished second behind American Dana Vollmer in Sunday's 100m butterfly final in London, as Coutts was third, before voicing her disgruntlement in a rare show of criticism from one of China's athletes.

The 23-year-old spent time training in Australia in 2008 and said it had opened her eyes to the way swimmers were able to balance their lifestyle.

"Before training they (the Australians) go and have fun, they are not afraid of being tired before training," Lu said through an interpreter at a media conference.

"In China, before any competition, you have to be rested and focused and you can't think of anything else.

"It is really different in Australia, I think our way of thinking has many limits and we set the limits.

"They (Australia) have an enthusiasm for swimming which makes me feel different and you ask yourself 'do you train for yourself or someone else?'"

Lu said she enjoyed being able to train with the opposite sex in Australia and also the social aspect of training there.

"Australian friends and families have invited me to barbecues or even for breakfast and in China that never happens," she said.

China has been a rising power in swimming since it started competing fully in the Games in 1984, topping the medal tally in Beijing four years ago.

They have already made a strong start in the pool in London, leading the medals table at the end of the second day, with 16-year-old Yi Shiwen and Sun Yang setting new world records.

The Chinese are even more dominant in diving and Australian diver Sharleen Stratton said their strict training regime was part of what made them so hard to beat.

"They start when they're so, so young and they just train and train everyday," Stratton said after finishing fifth in the 3m synchronised springboard final.

"They live with their coaches, it's just a completely different lifestyle to what what we have in western countries.

"So for us, it's about making the most of every training session that we can do."

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