This isn’t your slightly older brother’s Chinese Olympic Team! The squad for the Olympics, featuring 18 men and 21 women, saw quite a few surprising entries for this year’s games, coming out of the always-mysterious Chinese federation.
Part of the focus, in many cases, seems to have been put upon minimizing the number of entries for each individual and therefore maximizing both individual and relay potential; as well as putting the best swimmers in the most opportunistic spots for medals.
Perhaps the strangest lack-of-entry is the absence of either Ji Liping or Sun Ye from the women’s 100 breaststroke, despite finishing 3rd and 5th (respectively) at last year’s World Championships in the event. The pair instead is entered in the 200, where Ye is maybe a bit better (she was 4th at Worlds last year), but Liping is much, much weaker (she didn’t even final at her home meet in Shanghai). Based on last year, the opportunity to medal in this race is probably a touch better than the 100 behind Rebecca Soni, but still a strange decision.
The most notable absence, though not a surprise, is Lin Zhang from the men’s roster. He’s the current World Record holder in the men’s 800 free, but has struggled through two years of lack-of-focus. Despite the Chinese federation bending the rules to allow him additional qualification opportunities, he couldn’t make the cut and will be left home. He has said, though, that his career is not over, and that he will shoot for a spot on the 2016 team.
Other strange entries include Tang Yi, the country’s best short-distance freestyler, sitting out the 200 free. That’s an event where she was a semi-finalist at worlds, but at her best has finalist potential easily. This event doesn’t conflict with any of the Chinese relays (in either the semi’s or the finals), but she has taken care to make sure not to ware herself out in the past – at World’s, despite placing 6th in the 100 free prelims, she scratched the semi’s to put her full effort into the 800 free relay final.
Otherwhere on the women’s side, Jiao Liuyang has added the 100 fly back to her schedule after dropping it from Worlds, and Liu Zige (who swam it at Worlds) was dropped. That means the defending Worlds bronze-medalist Lu Ying will get another opportunity, though this is a situation where China had three potential medalists and someone had to be left out.
One man whose schedule won’t surprise any is Sun Yang, the World Champion and World Record holder in the 1500 free. He’ll be swimming his usual schedule of 200 free, 400 free, and 1500 free, all of which he has a shot at gold in. Wu Peng will also swim the 200 IM; his only medal chance is in the 200 fly, but he is China’s best 200 IM’er this year, and there’s little risk as it comes after his primary race in the schedule.
|Yang Shi||50 m freestyle|
|Lü Zhiwu||100 m freestyle|
|Li Yunqi||200 m freestyle|
|Sun Yang||200 m freestyle|
|Hao Yun||400 m freestyle|
|Sun Yang||400 m freestyle|
|Dai Jun||1500 m freestyle|
|Sun Yang||1500 m freestyle|
|Cheng Feiyi||100 m backstroke|
|He Jianbin||100 m backstroke|
|Xu Jiayu||200 m backstroke|
|Zhang Fenglin||200 m backstroke|
|Li Xiayan||100 m breaststroke|
|Cheng Chen||200 m breaststroke|
|Zhou Jiawei||100 m butterfly|
|Chen Yin||200 m butterfly|
|Wu Peng||200 m butterfly|
|Wang Shun||200 m individual medley|
|Wu Peng||200 m individual medley|
|Wang Chengxiang||400 m individual medley|
|Yang Zhixian||400 m individual medley|
|Zhu Qianwei||50 m freestyle|
|Tang Yi||100 m freestyle|
|Song Wenyan||200 m freestyle|
|Wang Shijia||200 m freestyle|
|Li Xuanxu||400 m freestyle|
|Shao Yiwen||400 m freestyle|
|Shao Yiwen||800 m freestyle|
|Xin Xin||800 m freestyle|
|Fu Yuanhui||100 m backstroke|
|Zhao Jing||100 m backstroke|
|Bai Anqi||200 m backstroke|
|Yao Yige||200 m backstroke|
|Liu Xiaoyu||100 m breaststroke|
|Zhao Jin||100 m breaststroke|
|Ji Liping||200 m breaststroke|
|Sun Ye||200 m breaststroke|
|Jiao Liuyang||100 m butterfly|
|Lu Ying||100 m butterfly|
|Jiao Liuyang||200 m butterfly|
|Liu Zige||200 m butterfly|
|Li Jiaxing||200 m individual medley|
|Ye Shiwen||200 m individual medley|
|Li Xuanxu||400 m individual medley|
|Ye Shiwen||400 m individual medley|
|Yanqiao Fang||10 km open water|