Born March 6, 1993 Ning Zetao is a Chinese swimmer born in Zhengzou. Zetao focused on the IM events as an age group swimmer, but after suffering from knee problems, he began to train sprint freestyle. He’s the Asian record holder in the 100m freestyle, and was the first Asian man to swim the event in under 48 seconds.
Zetao was born into a military family – his father served in the Chinese Air Force and his mother served in the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force. Standing about 6’3″ Zetao began swimming at eight years old, but not by choice. As a child his parents put him in swim lessons in order to curb his fear of the water. Coaches quickly noticed his natural talent, and he began training with the Chinese Navy Swimming Team by 14 years old.
Zetao spent much of his earlier days competing in national competitions and the Asian Games. His first major comeptition was the 11th Chinese Games in 2009 – he finished eighth in the 200m IM. After training more sprint freestyle, and dropping the IM events, he competed at the 2011 Chinese National Championships, finishing fourth in the 100m freestyle.
After much success on the Chinese swimming scene, even finaling at the Chinese National Championships, Zetao tested positive for the steroid, clenbuterol, in April 2011. He was given a one-year suspension, but Zetao has been slowly improving on the international swimming scene since then.
Return from suspension
In the year that Zetao returned from his one-year suspension, he won his first national championship. He took first in the 100m freestyle at the 2013 Chinese National Championships in a new national record, which he recently set while competing at the 12th Chinese National Games.
Newcomer of the Year
In 2014 Zetao swam at the 17th Asian Games in South Korea, winning gold in the 50m freestyle and 100m freestyle, setting a new Asian record in the 100m freestyle. At the 2014 FINA World Championships Zetao won bronze in the 50m freestyle and swam on numerous mixed relay squads. After his successful year Swimming World Magazine named Zetao Swimming’s Newcomer of the Year after finishing the year as the second-fastest man in the 100m freestyle behind James Magnussen.
2015 World Championships
Going into Worlds ranked as one of the fastest 100m freestyle swimmers of the year, Zetao was expected to be a medal contender. In the final of the 100-meter free Zetao held off the top qualifier, Cameron MvEvoy, to take the win by just .11 seconds. His time of 47.84, was his best of the year and took the honor of the world’s fastest time.