Chinese Distance Star Li Bingjie Tests Positive for COVID-19 at SC Worlds


According to her American coach Mark Schubert, Chinese distance star Li Bingjie has tested positive for COVID-19, most likely keeping her from racing at the 2022 SC World Championships. 

Bingjie, who is the reigning Short Course World Champion in both the 400m and 800m freestyle, began to feel ill upon her arrival in Melbourne. After coming into the meet as the heavy favorite in both events, Bingjie scratched the 400m freestyle on day 1 of the meet, leaving Australian Lani Pallister to claim the World Championship title. It was possible that Bingjie would return for the 800m freestyle on day 2, but she once-again decided to scratch, leading to speculation about the nature of her illness. 

That speculation was confirmed today as her coach Mark Schubert said that Bingjie tested positive for COVID-19 since arriving in Melbourne. Schubert also said that there were additional COVID cases amongst members of the Chinese team prior to the beginning of the meet. He did not confirm how many of those cases are currently active.

Schubert, who helped coach 8 US Olympic Teams, moved to China to coach earlier this year on a sabbatical from his “elite training group” based in Southern California, The Swim Team (TST). Prior to forming The Swim Team, Schubert was the coach of Mission Viejo for several decades across multiple stints, coaching swimmers like Janet Evans, Shirley Babashoff, Brian Goodell, Mike O’Brien, Sippy Woodhead Kaitlin Sandeno, Jessica Hardy, Larsen Jensen, Erik Vendt, Lindsay (Benko) Mintenko, Ous Mellouli, and Dara Torres.

Several other members of the Chinese team also scratched from events. It is known that other members of the team tested positive for COVID-19, but SwimSwam has not been able to confirm exactly which ones (besides Li).

At the 2021 edition of the SC World Championships, there were a total of 37 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the meet, with 15 of those cases coming from athletes. Notable swimmers who tested positive include American Olympic Champion Lydia Jacoby and Great Britain’s Max Litchfield. At those Championships, FINA, now known as World Aquatics, forced entire countries to withdraw from the meet due to positive cases and several swimmers left the competition early due to COVID concerns. 

On December 12, Melbourne reported a total of 4,376 new COVID cases, though total testing data isn’t available. Last week, data showed a 4.6% increase in the positive test rate in Victoria, the state Melbourne falls under. 

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9 months ago

(Think you mean speculation about her health, not stipulation…)

Tracy Kosinski
9 months ago

I’m sorry to hear this and hope she recovers soon 🇨🇳🙏❤️

9 months ago

Unsurprisingly, coming from an environment almost totally devoid of COVID – at least around the training center in China, on arriving in Melbourne they encountered an unmasked Western city, but one in the throes of a major upsurge in cases. The result: Bingjie and several team members quickly became ill. Sadly for Bingjie, she was poised for extraordinary performances and so was “devastated” and “really, really sick!”

li Bingjie has found the perfect coach for her in Mark Schubert, and so too has Mark found his perfect situation: an extremely dedicated and talented swimmer [she is an Olympic champion and WR holder from Tokyo, last seen showing her heels to Katie Ledecky as the relay anchor, and multiple world contestant… Read more »

Steve Nolan
Reply to  GutterGuy
9 months ago

comment image

Reply to  GutterGuy
9 months ago

What Steve said

Big Chonkay
Reply to  GutterGuy
9 months ago

Whatever that means

Reply to  GutterGuy
1 month ago

Except that Mark is back in SOCal. Chatted with him this morning in Irvine in fact!

9 months ago

I hope they revoke Schubert’s citizenship

Suzy Q
9 months ago

how can i blame this on michael andrew

9 months ago

That’s disappointing. I was looking forward to seeing what she could do here.

9 months ago

Not again

Demarrit Steenbergen
9 months ago

Checkmate, I cut her form my pick em the moment I heard she was feverish

Reply to  Demarrit Steenbergen
9 months ago

Same. I also had China winning the 4×2 but not anymore.

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Nicole has been with SwimSwam since April 2020, as both a reporter and social media contributor. Prior to joining the SwimSwam platform, Nicole also managed a successful Instagram platform, amassing over 20,000 followers. Currently, Nicole is pursuing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After competing for the swim …

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