Liz Li Breaks Big Ten Meet Record, Goes #6 Time in History in 50 Free


After missing the fall semester for Chinese national team duties, Ohio State‘s Liz Li is certainly back.

Li, a senior, won her third 50 free Big Ten title in a row tonight with a time of 21.28. In addition to winning by a sizable margin (the closest competitor in the final tonight was Minnesota’s Danielle Nack, who was 22.10), Li beat her best time and also tied for the sixth-best performance of all time.

Li’s previous personal best was a 21.29 from last year’s NCAA Championships, where she finished third. Her 21.28 tonight now ties American record holder and fastest-female-swimmer-in-yards Abbey Weitzeil for the sixth-fastest performance ever. Weitzeil also went a 21.28, albeit back in 2016, which is her own 2nd-fastest time ever.

See the top performances of all time, below.


  1. Abbey Weitzeil 21.12 (2016)
  2. Simone Manuel 21.17 (2017)
  3. Olivia Smoliga 21.21 (2016)
  4. Olivia Smoliga/Lara Jackson 21.27 (2017/2009)
  5. *
  6. Abbey Weitzeil/Liz Li 21.28 (2016/2018)
  7. Liz Li 21.29 (2017)

Li being in such good shape right now makes it look like Ohio State will be the heavy favorites in the 200 free relay. In addition to her, the Buckeyes had two more women in the 50 free A final at the Big Ten Champs tonight.

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Hasn’t she failed a few drug tests? …just saying

Waldo Moncada

Please specify in your articles that the distance is in yards. The vast majority of swimmers in the world use meters and this tends to confuse most unless you are more specific.

Just Sayin

I don’t know if any meets outside the NCAA called “Big Tens”

Bon Jovi

dude it’s college swimming…


She was an EPO user and kicked out of Chinese national team. The record should have a “*” next to it.

I tend to be of the opinion that it’s unlikely that a 16-year old went out and found EPO on her own and started taking it, knowing it was a banned substance. If a 16-year old tests positive for EPO, while it’s their responsibility to serve the suspension, coaches should bear most of the responsibility – either for giving it to her, or at the least not properly educating her on what is and is not banned. That’s a lot to expect of a 16-year old, especially one that’s a member of a National Team where there should be oversight of supplementation.

Just my $.02.


I agree with you Braden – coaches and parents should have taken more responsibility. As I posted in a different article, I think she should be banned longer or even for life, not only because she was caught but also lied about it. Here is my original post: ……She was a teenage sensation and has parents who are sports stars in China and put a lot of pressure on her to over-achieve in a young age (12!). It’s hard to keep it up when you perform well internationally at 12. I was traveling in China in Jan 2013 when the ban was issued. It’s reported she had tried to deny it by saying taking EPO by mistake to treat some… Read more »

Bon Jovi


About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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