China has announced its Olympic roster for the 2016 Rio Olympics, with two notable absences: junior world record-holding breaststroker Wang Lizhuo and top-10 world ranked 200 freestyler Qiu Yuhan.
The roster includes most of the other really notable Chinese swimmers. Sun Yang will swim the 200, 400 and 1500 frees. Ning Zetao is entered in the 50 and 100 frees. And in what is only somewhat a surprise, 2012 Olympic champ and world record-holder Ye Shiwen will contest both the 200 IM and 400 IM – she appeared to be on the outs in the 400 after a rough swim at Chinese Nationals, owing to what was rumored to be a stomach illness.
The most glaring absences are Wang and Qiu, both 18-and-unders:
Wang’s absence is a bit more explainable. The 17-year-old set the junior world record in the boys 100 breaststroke earlier this year, but also tested positive for clenbuterol, a banned substance. Originally, it appeared Wang would only face a monetary fine as punishment, but there was always a chance he would be left off of China’s Olympic roster as well.
He ranked 9th in the world with a 59.60 in the 100 breast this year, and had an outside chance to medal. He’s also considerably faster than the next-best candidate for the breaststroke leg on China’s medley relay.
Qiu is more of a mystery. The youngest swimmer on the Chinese Olympic roster in 2012, a 14-year-old Qiu swam on the women’s 4×100 free relay that took 4th. Last summer, she led off the Chinese 4×200 free relay in 1:56.88 – the second-best split on the relay and the 15th-fastest swim in the world for the season.
She had been even better this year, going 1:55.84 at Chinese Nationals in April and holding the 8th-best time in the world.
Qiu’s absence is a considerable blow to the Chinese 4×200 free relay, which will now need some huge swims to challenge the American relay for gold, and may have to scrape just to get back onto the medal podium.
Here’s the full roster:
50/100 free: Ning Zetao, Yu Hexin
200 free: Sun Yang, Shang Keyuan
400/1500 free: Sun Yang, Qiu Ziao
100/200 back: Xu Jiayu, Li Guangyuan
100 breast: Li Xiang, Yan Zibei
200 breast: Li Xiang, Mao Feilian
100 fly: Li Zhuhao, Zhang Qibin
200 fly: Li Zhuhao, Wu Yuhang
200 IM: Wang Shun, Hu Yixuan
400 IM: Wang Shun
4×100 free: Li Yongqin/He Jianbin/Liu ZhaoChen/Ning Zetao/Yu Hexin
4×100 Med: Xu Jiayu/Li Xiang/Li Zhuhao/Ning Zetao
50 free: Liu Xiang, Chen Xinyi
100 free: Shen Duo, Zhu Menghui
200 free: Shen Duo, Ai Yanhan
400 free: Zhang Yuhan, Cao yew
800 free: Zhang Yuhan, Hou Yawen
100 back: Fu Yuanhui, Wang Xueer
200 back: Chen Jie, Liu Yaxin
100 breast: Shi Jinglin, Yu Jingyao
200 breast: Shi Jinglin, Zhang Xinyu
100 fly: Lu Ying, Chen Xinyi
200 fly: Zhang Yufei, Zhou Yilin
200/400 IM: Ye Shiwen, Zhou Min
4×100 free: Tang Yi/Sun Meichen/Tang Yuting/Shen Duo/Zhu Menghui
4×200 free: Shen Duo/Ai Yanhan/Wang Shijia/Dong Jie
4×100 Med: Fu Yuanhui/Shi Jinglin/Chen Xinyi/Shen Duo