2017 CHINESE SUMMER NATIONALS
- Friday, June 23rd-Monday, June 26th
- Ganzhou Sports Center Natatorium
- 50-Meter Course
While competing at the 2017 Chinese Summer National Championships, a reigning world champion failed to qualify for an opportunity to defend his title in Budapest later this month. Ning Zetao, who won the men’s 100m freestyle at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, could only muster a time of 49.67 in the morning prelims of his nation’s championships. The race marked the 24-year-old’s first competitive race since Rio, where he finished 12th out of semi-finals in a time of 48.37.
To qualify for Budapest, Zetao would have needed to clock the FINA A cut of 48.93, at minimum, with his 49.67 prelims outing falling .74 shy of the standard. Asian media is reporting that Zetao scratched out of the final, citing a ‘waist injury.’
“Ning’s result didn’t beat the designated A cut time. He is not the top ranked swimmer among those who meet the B cut, so he is not eligible to compete at the world championships,” said Zhao Jian, vice director of the Chinese Swimming Association.
We reported back in May how the world champion was indeed left off of the preliminary Chinese roster for the World Championships in Budapest, with the reason likely having something to do with his being kicked off the national team for various rule violations last year.
However, now that he missed the mark on his final chance meet, the pressure is on to find a quick replacement for the once-formidable-looking men’s 4x100m medley relay. The trio of Chinese swimmers comprising the first 3 legs can certainly do some damage to the field in Budapest, with Jiayu Xu holding a 100m breaststroke season-best of 51.86, Zibei Yan owning a 100m breaststroke season-best of 58.92 and
Li Zhuhao ranking among the best in the world in the 100m fly with his mark of 51.34.
With no Zetao in the mix, the nation will most likely need to turn to freestyle specialist Sun Yang, a man who typically competes in the 200m as his minimum distance. Sun doesn’t look to have swum the 100m free individually since 2014 when he clocked a time of 48.55. China went with Zetao as the anchor at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, but the squad found itself disqualified in heats.