Update: Sun Yang says on his Weibo account that he will swim the 800 free despite his coach’s comments.
In another stunning drop in what has become the topsy-turvy world of men’s distance swimming, Chinese swimmer Sun Yang will swim only three races at this month’s World Championships in Barcelona, according to local Chinese media.
A report by Xinhuanet quotes his current coach Zhang Yadong, under whom Sun Yang has been training in Hong Kong, as saying that Sun will swim only the 400 and 1500 at this summer’s World Championships. This was confirmed by the deputy head of the Chinese Swimming Association, who cited concerns about Sun’s training.
Despite those two both saying that Sun would not swim the 800 free, Sun says on his personal Weibo account that his schedule will be the 400, 800, and 1500 freestyles. The change comes apparently in confusion after Chinese officials submitted what they call a “preliminary lineup” that didn’t include Sun’s 800 free, but then after some public backlash, they allowed Sun into the 800 free.
He’ll also swim the 800 free relay.
That is stunning news for the man who was both the defending Olympic silver medalist in the 200 free.
Instead, he’ll focus on the 400, 800 and 1500 freestyles, where again there should be little competition even for a less-than-perfect-shape Sun.
Ryan Lochte’s advantage in the 200 free should grow (though rumor that France’s Yannick Agnel is re-entering that 200 free field could add some excitement there).