ASIA: Ye Shiwen Re-Emerges as Medal Contender in 200 IM


China’s Ye Shiwen looks to be making a comeback after the first night of finals at the 2019 FINA World Championships. The 2012 Olympic IM champion, who once owned the World Record in the 400 IM, had struggled in recent years. Ye once said she was likely to retire after the Rio Olympics after she missed making finals at 2015 Worlds and in Rio. She continued on, however, qualifying for semifinals of the 200 IM at 2017 Worlds but ultimately missing the final again in both IM events.

This year, Ye started to re-emerge as one of the world’s best. At one point, she was the fastest 200 breaststroker of 2019 after setting a big lifetime best of 2:22.53. She also broke 2:10 in the 200 IM for the first time since 2014. Ye won 3 titles at Chinese Nationals, including the 200 IM, 400 IM, and 200 breast.

Ye spoke of her struggles with doubt and self-pressure back in 2017, but could be well on her way back to the podium if she continues to progress the way she has in 2019. Tonight, Ye qualified 4th for the final of the 200 IM, which will take place tomorrow night. She led a 4-5-6-7 finish for Asian swimmers in this event, along with Japan’s Rika Omoto, Japan’s Yui Ohashi, and South Korea’s Kim Seoyeong.

Ye hit the wall in 2:09.58 to take 2nd out of heat 2 of the semifinals. If she reaches the podium, this would be her first major international medal since she won her Olympic golds in 2012.

Ye wasn’t the only Asian swimmer to impress on day 1. China’s Sun Yang won the first gold medal of the meet as he took home his 4th-straight Worlds title in the 400 free. Yan Zibei set a new Asian Record and Chinese Record in the 100 breast as he qualified for the final in 58.67.


Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
China 1 0 0 1


  • Men’s 100 Breast: Asian Record, Yan Zibei, 58.67
  • Men’s 100 Breast: Chinese Record, Yan Zibei, 58.67

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Rooting for her. She was treated so unfairly after London 2012 and I’m glad she’s back into form !

Steve Nolan

Completely agreed. Glad she’s back.


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Jeez Ye looks so grown in that photo! Then again, it’s been 7 years since her picture has been featured in the mainstream.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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