Li is originally from Shenyang, China, where she was first taught to swim at 6 years old. “My dad brought me to a recreational swimming pool and taught me how to swim one day,” Li said. “Actually, he taught me breaststroke first, which is the stroke that I’m really bad at now, which is funny.” Eventually, Li was asked to join a provincial team as she progressed rapidly.
Li. the youngest swimmer for the Chinese team at 14,, placed 12th in the 50 free.
Coming to America
Li came to America in 2013 enrolling in Ohio Dominican University to learn English and pursue her dream of swimming at a US University. She was given a tour of OSU, and the rest is history.
Li arrived at OSU in the fall of 2014.
As a Freshman (2015): Li earned Honorable Mention All-American honors in her first season as a Buckeye in the 50 freestyle with a time of 22.03. At the Big 10 Championships Li swam four individual events and three relays, the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle, and 100 backstroke, the 200 freestyle, 400 freestyle, and 400 medley relay teams.
As a sophomore (2016): Li earned All-American honors in the 50 freestyle, and Honorable Mention All-American as a member of the 200 medley, 200 freestyle, and 400 freestyle relays.
As a junior (2017): Li was Big Ten Champion in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle, and earned All-American Honors in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly,. At NCAA Championships, Li placed third in the 50 free behind Simone Manuel and Olivia Smoliga. Li also placed seventh in the 100 Butterfly.