Chinese national teamer Yirong Bi has found her new home at the University of Michigan. She joined the team in January as a mid-year enrollee.
Yirong won gold medals at 2013 Chinese National Championships in the 400 and 800 free, and she went on to win the 800 and finish second in the 400 at the 2014 Asian Games. She trained with the Zhejiang Swimming Team before her move to the US, and she has attended the Zhejiang College of Sports and Shanghai Jiaotong University.
Yirong, who goes by ‘Rose,’ swam her first meet with the team this weekend, when the #14-ranked Wolverines took down arch-rivals Ohio State. There, she won the 1000 free in 9:42.32, took second in the 500 free with an NCAA Division I ‘B’ cut 4:45.40, and took second in the 200 free with another ‘B’ cut 1:47.98. She also clocked 16:10.58 for the fastest time in the 1650 free time trial, nearly 20 seconds under the ‘B’ mark.
She should make a big impact on last year’s Big Ten 3rd-place finishers from Michigan. All of her late-January swims were fast enough to compete at last year’s NCAA Division I Championships, and these un-tapered times already bode well for her Big Ten performance. Her swims this weekend would have made the Big Ten bonus finals in the 200 and 500 free, and her mile performance would have gotten her ninth place. Her 200 time, coming in ahead of freestyle mainstays Becca Postoll, Gillian Ryan, and Claudia Goswell, also places her in contention for an 800 free relay slot.