Asian men's 200 metres freestyle champion Mark Kwok Kin-ming failed to conquer his mainland rival yesterday as he had to settle for sixth in the final of his favourite event in Guangzhou. But Kwok would have no complaints as all top three finishers clocked times faster than his Hong Kong record of one minute 52.48 seconds, while winner Liu Yu of Guangdong and second-placed Jin Hao of Shendong both surpassed the old Chinese national record. Liu set the new mark at 1:49.77 while Kwok recorded 1:53.19. Kwok's result, however, is a breakthrough for the SAR as no Hong Kong swimmer reached the finals at the last Games in Shanghai four years ago. Hong Kong manager Szeto Ping-hang said: 'We're satisfied with Mark's performance because the level here is high. This event alone is tougher than those at May's Osaka East Asian Games. He started well tonight, holding on to third in the first 100m, but he ran out of steam in the last 25m and was caught by three mainlanders.' The American-based swimmer earned himself another shot at a podium finish 30 minutes later as he splashed his way to seventh overall in 2:03.01 in the 200m butterfly semi-finals to book a place in today's final. But he will need a sudden surge of form to be able to have any hope of winning a medal because the six swimmers he will face today all beat the 2:02 mark last night. Kwok will also compete in the 200m medley tomorrow. His teammates, however, failed to make any impact. Szeto Sui-ki came 25th out of 41 in the men's 200m butterfly heats. And the SAR's female swimmers, Sherry Tsai Hiu-wai, Kong Yan-kay and Pang Suk-mui, also did not fare well. Tsai finished 25th (2:25.31) in the women's 200m medley while Kong (2:10.51) and Pang (2:10.54) came 33rd and 34th in the women's 200m freestyle respectively. Hong Kong's sole diver Yu Yuet was placed 19th out of 22 in the men's one-metre springboard preliminary round. At the velodrome, Hong Kong's quartet, led by defending road race champion Wong Kam-po, secured a place in today's quarter-finals after finishing eighth in 4:33.319 in the preliminary round of the men's four kilometre team pursuit. But they must beat defending champions Liaoning (4:26.338) today to stand any chance at a medal. In rowing, the Hong Kong quartet of Lui Kam-chi, Lo Sing-yan, Law Hiu-fung and Lee Ho-yin found their heavier rivals too strong as they finished sixth and last in their group in the men's open quadruple sculls semi-finals. Hong Kong's top female tennis player Tong Ka-po won her opening match but lost 6-3, 6-0 to China's international Yi Jingqian of Jiangsu in the second round while fencers Wong Kam-kau and Tse Yiu-ming reached the second round of the knock-out stage in the men's foil.