Eye-Popping: 12-Year-Old Wang Yichun Of China Clocks 58.44 100 Fly


15-year-old Li Bingjie blasted a new Chinese and Asian record  tonight in the women’s 400m freestyle while competing at the National Games of China, but she wasn’t the only youngster to crank out an eye-popping swim in the session. Although she wasn’t able to land on the podium in the women’s 100m butterfly, Wang Yichun, just 12 years of age, crushed a time of 58.44 to finish in 4th place in the event.

Yichun’s age of just 12 is not a typo. In fact, the youth has already been sub-1:00 in the 100m fly this year, having rocked a 59.07 at the National Spring Championships this past April. Entering these National Games of China, that time ranked as 52nd in the world, but her 58.44 finish tonight now checks-in as 31st, ahead of Americans Dakota Luther and Cassidy Bayer.

For perspective, the fastest American 12-year-old female in history was in fact Bayer, who earned a time of 1:01.75 back in 2012. She is followed by Claire Curzan’s recent time of 1:02.13 from this year. Former world record holder Dana Vollmer held a time of 1:02.49 in this event when she was 12 years old back in 2000. Yichun’s time is a whopping 3+ seconds ahead of all 3.

To compare to another country, Australia’s national age group record for 13&U females in the 100m butterfly event is 59.95 set by Yolane Kukla in 2009. For the Netherlands, the fastest 12-year-old female ever in the 100m butterfly was Elise Tanis, who registered a time of 1:08.69 in 2014. Yichun’s sub-59 second mark is still in a league of its own when compared to these other nations’ standards.

The World Junior Record is held by Canada’s Penny Oleksiak with the 56.46 she established at the Rio Olympic Games en route to silver. Yichun still has a ways go to get within striking distance of that mark, but then again she has a ways to go until she nears the upper-end of the 18&U junior time bracket.

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A 12 year old???
This shouldn’t even qualify as a joke


Never too young to start them in China, if you aren’t skeptic you’re fooling yourself


Oh come on. She’s among the fastest 12 year old BOYS in the US. If she isn’t doping, then she’s not 12. That’s like a 12 year old guy going 52.


In terms of competitiveness those times are comparable, but at 12 and under the differences between boys and girls is not as pronounced. Many females peak young.


Yes, but never at 12! 16 at the absolute earliest.

SwimFan 192

Good thing that growth and development is the same for all girls 12 years old! What if her biological age is 15-16?


Or maybe she’s just a really good swimmer…


For another perspective, Carly Geehr swam a 1:09 100 breast as a 12 year old in 1997/8. The world record at the time was 1:07. So she was less than 3 seconds away from WR at age 12. This girl is 3 seconds away from WR in 100 fly at age 12. Was Carly Geehr accused of doping?


20 years ago, the 100m butterfly world record was 57.93. And 57.88 in 1999. Mary T. Meagher and Jenny Thompson. Very interesting perspective indeed!


She isn’t 12


Probably, but Carly wasn’t from one of the most well known doping nations


By probably I mean people probably accused her of doping not that she did

S B Kong

Drugs were invented and manufactured by Western countries! Besides, Western athletes could apply to Anti-doping Institution for taking banned drugs on health ground as exposed by Russian Hackers. The girl in question still attends primary school.


Well, I *was* accused of doping. I don’t think anyone actually took that seriously though! Getting out-of-competition drug tested when you’re 12 and the FINA folks show up at your middle school – pretty harrowing 😉


Then didn`t exist swimswam and others 🙂

Science Geek



I am against doping and 100% in favor of zero tolerance, as seen from my comments elsewhere. But Brownie, your ignorant comment is so un-american (I doubt you are an American anyway!) and baseless, esp against a 12 yr-old girl. Yes there is a history of doping in China, but accusation without evidence makes you sound stupid. Globalization is good for our sport – more coverage, wider participation, more sponsorship, etc. Celebrate her success and wish her the best, but I would strongly condemn her if there is any evidence of doping.


Good swim


This literally BS i grind so hard to beaten by a 12 year old girl.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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