Li Zhuhao of China has made a fantastic start to his 100m butterfly campaign at the 2015 World Championships, breaking his own world junior record and advancing to the semifinals.
Sixteen-year-old Zhuhao swam a 51.54 in the prelims, breaking his own junior world record by 0.37 seconds. Zhuhao set the old mark at the Asian Games last year on his way to a silver medal.
To give this swim context, consider that 100m butterfly world record holder Michael Phelps‘ best at 16 was a 52.98 and his best as a junior was a 51.15 (before FINA began recognizing junior world records).
Li Zhuhao is developing well, with his eyes set firmly on Rio. He has overcome an immensely experienced field in order to progress to the semifinals as the third seed.
Li is up against fellow Asian butterfly sensation Joseph Schooling of Singapore, who has also proceeded to the semifinals as the fifth seed in 51.65. That swim for Schooling was a Singaporean national record.
As two of the youngest swimmers who will contest the semifinals tonight, it will take a big push in order for both swimmers to qualify for tomorrow’s championships final. Their 51-mid times will likely put them in the mix towards the bottom of the back, but they will need to be in the 51-low range in order to safely grab a lane in the final.