2023 Swammy Awards: Asian Female Swimmer Of The Year – Zhang Yufei

See all of our 2023 Swammy Awards here.


25-year-old Zhang Yufei of China is the Swammy Award winner for 2023 Asian Female Swimmer of the Year.

Zhang has been on-fire since her multi-gold medal-winning performances at the 2020 Olympic Games and shows no signs of slowing down heading into Paris 2024.

The Cui Dengrong-trained athlete put up a time of 24.15 to take bronze in the women’s 50m freestyle at this year’s World Championships and upgraded to silver in the 50m fly with a mark of 25.05. The latter performance registered a new Asian Record for the star.

Zhang topped the women’s 100m fly podium in Fukuoka in a result of 56.12 to beat out the reigning Olympic champion in the event, Maggie MacNeil of Canada.

On the relay front in Fukuoka, Zhang helped the Chinese women’s 4x100m free relay nail bronze in a new Asian Record and was also a member of China’s mixed medley relay which took the gold.

Just weeks later, Zhang represented her nation at the World University Games where she wound up being a one-woman wrecking ball across the free and fly sprint events. She topped the 50m and 100m podiums in each discipline, scoring new Games Records in all four races.

Add in the golds she helped produce in the women’s 4x100m free, 4x200m free and 4x100m medley relays along with the mixed free and medley relays and Zhang wound up hauling a total of nine gold medals from Chengdu.

Not stopping there, Zhang went on to make her mark at this year’s Asian Games. There in Hangzhou, she took 50m free gold and swept the fly events, establishing new Games Records of 25.10 in the 50m, 55.86 in the 100m and 2:05.57 in the 200m. Add in two relay golds and the star came away with MVP honors, sharing the recognition with teammate Qin Haiyang, our Swammy Award winner for Asian Male Swimmer of the Year.


  • Siobhan Haughey (HKG) – Olympic multi-medalist Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong demonstrated her prowess through the 2023 racing year. The 26-year-old took 100m free silver at the World Championships and collected 50m free silver, 100m free gold and 200m free gold at the Asian Games. On the World Aquatics World Cup circuit, Haughey established new lifetime bests and national records of 24.30 in the 50m free, 52.02 in the 100m free, and 4:05.30 in the 100m free. However, Haughey demonstrated her unique versatility in the breaststroke discipline. The former University of Michigan Wolverine snagged a 50m breast national record of 30.36 both at the Asian Games and during the World Cup but ended her year with an eye-popping mark of 1:06.05 in the 100m breast at December’s U.S. Open. That performance beat out reigning Olympic champion Lydia Jacoby of the United States in the race.
  • Li Bingjie (CHN) – Olympic gold medalist Li Bingjie of China represented her nation in style throughout the year both domestically and on the elite international stage. Competing at Chinese Nationals in May, Li won the 400m free event in a time of 4:01.08, a mark that equaled her best-ever Asian Record result logged at the 2020 Olympic Games for bronze. Li went on to earn 800m free silver and 1500m free bronze at this year’s World Championships, with her 800m free time of 8:13.31 claiming a new Chinese national and Asian continental record in the process. She earned gold across the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle events at the Asian Games while also claiming 200m free silver.


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4 months ago

Well deserved but how did she not win this in 2021?

Olympic champion in 200fly (still the textile WR),silver 100fly, and helped China to a WR in the 4x200m

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Andy
4 months ago

scm worlds results were valued over the olympic gold

Sous Vide Swimmer
4 months ago

Very well deserved for the smiling assassin!

4 months ago

She is such a sweet girl. Good luck 2024!

4 months ago

Surprised Zhang didn’t win this in 2021 when she had a more successful Olympics (medal wise) than Haughey.

And strangely it was Haughey on my mind for this year’s award, I think mainly because her onslaught in recent months (especially in breaststroke) is still fresh on my mind. But Zhang definitely deserves this as well, had a very successful racing season all summer.

Heading into the Olympic year I’m excited for them both to do even greater things. Haughey is solidly a contender for sprint queen, and I feel like she’s due for a PB in the 200 free given her times throughout this year. It’s definitely one of the most competitive events where she’s maybe only in for… Read more »

Sous Vide Swimmer
Reply to  Boomer
4 months ago

Zhang is capable of breaking 100 fly WR is the schedule suit her.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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