China Reveals Olympic Roster; Intriguing Entries Abound

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

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Whatever happened to Beijing 08 breakthrough Jiaying Pang? I remember she swam a bit in Rome in the gold medal winning relay, what happened thereafter?


She’s on China’s olympic team, she’s just a relay only swimmer for the 4×200. She’s been competing, she just hasn’t performed at the level she did in Beijing (when she was 23 years old I might add). She earned medals via China’s 4×200 at SC Worlds in 2010 and at LC Worlds last year.


Yep, Pang Jiaying actually already had a breakthrough in Athens 2004, winning silver as part of the 4×200 free


Ooh, you meant in individual 200

John Sampson

I thought ye shiwen [IM extraordinar] was also a superstar distance freestyler? Or am I getting her confused with someone else?


Looking over the names list, it would be pretty easy to confuse Ye Shiwen and Shao Yiwen since they’re pretty similar if you just flip the Y and S in one of their names.

Heck, it took me a while to keep Kirsten Caverly and Kirsty Coventry straight. Same goes for Rex Tullius and Marcus Titus.

Any guesses on WHO is gonna be a medalist coming out of nowhere?

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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