Sun Yang Will Only Swim Three Events at World Championships

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).

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Juicy Lucy
9 years ago

Sorry, Sun Yang!

Juicy Lucy
9 years ago

Does anyone know where I can find out what training Sun Tang does? I can’t find his schedules anywhere. Thanks.

Jg
9 years ago

Sun could be the Snowden of China!

aswimfan
Reply to  Jg
9 years ago

And I am sure Australia would be more than happy to grant him asylum, but they wouldn’t, as Australia’s economy is supported by Chinese demand for minerals and energy, and would go to the dogs if China suddenly stop importing from Australia.

aswimfan
9 years ago

In his Weibo account, interestingly Sun Yang wrote on July 3 (after rough google translation):

“I will participate in the World Swimming Championships in Barcelona four items of the game.”

So does this mean that he actually will swim 200/400/800/1500?
or does those “4 items” include the relay (4×200)?

aswimfan
Reply to  Braden Keith
9 years ago

Ok. I’m much more at peace now that he will swim 3 individual events.

I hope (and predict) he will win the 400/800/1500 and break WR in the 400.

And if he can’t break 400 WR in Barca, there’s always 2014 in Incheon where he will go on the battles against Park.

Rafael Teixeira
Reply to  aswimfan
9 years ago

His 1:44:99 in the beginning of the year.. i thought was a prove that he got more front speed to especially break the 3:40 barrier..

HKSWIMMER
9 years ago

As someone who knows quite a lot about the Chinese system, I think there’s a lot of slightly misguided comments on this thread.

Sun choosing to drop the events is a result of many factors. He previously went through an extremely frosty period with his longtime coach Zhu Zhigen of Zhejiang province, China’s premier swimming province at the moment. He has recently quit training in the mainland all together and has been swimming in the Hong Kong Sports Institute recently, and not under coach Zhu.

This is a big disturbance to his training. Zhejiang province has one of the most technically advanced training centers in the world, with hundreds of millions of RMB poured into maintaining world class facilities and… Read more »

aswimfan
Reply to  HKSWIMMER
9 years ago

Sun Yang has more than proven himself, but I believe he has greater potential than what his results has shown and I believe he has the talent to equal or even exceed Hackett’s achievements, and therefore it is disappointed and frustrating that he doesn’t/can’t realize those potential.

I give you another exampe: Jodie Henry.
I believe she had the talent to become one of the greatest sprinters of all time, and has bigger talent than Libby trickett. But Henry just lost motivation after winning olympics/worlds/WR.

NoLochteFan
Reply to  HKSWIMMER
9 years ago

Great post! It is important to note that Sun may not have the same level as freedom that other swimmers enjoy around the world. I don’t think his legacy would suffer regardless of what he swims at this years world championships. If he swims 3 and wins 3, that will still be a great accomplishment. Even 2 is newsworthy, I think because he is such a great swimmer the expectations are piling on.

bobo gigi
9 years ago

So, Sun Yang again swims the 800 free! I again update my predictions.
Men’s 800 free. 1. Sun Yang

mcgillrocks
Reply to  bobo gigi
9 years ago

Mens 800 free
#1. Ryan Cochrane (8:37)

NoLochteFan
Reply to  mcgillrocks
9 years ago

I wish I could take some money from McGillRocks because Cochrane will be lucky to get silver and won’t ever beat Sun unless Yang comes in not having swam for a few months.

john26
9 years ago

His legacy doesn’t depend on what he does this year. Although, his overall legacy would be that much more impressive if he has 200m free World Champ on it at some point. As time progresses, these missed opportunities may add up.

Sun simply may not be in the shape to swim 4 events. Either way, if this is the case, he may be vulnerable to Cochrane in the 1500, though he still seems to be all by himself in the 400.

The real question is if neither Sun nor Agnel swims the 200, who would win the race. In that scenario, it would be a huge mistake for Stravius to not swim, as I think he may have a 144… Read more »

bobo gigi
Reply to  john26
9 years ago

Stravius can’t swim the 200 free! He has the 100 back final later in the same session. He isn’t crazy.

john26
Reply to  bobo gigi
9 years ago

If he is in the shape to swim 52.5 or better, he can definitely wina medal in the 200 (perhaps win if Agnel and Sun are absent) and still win the 100back.

bobo gigi
Reply to  john26
9 years ago

He could but it would be too much risky. He wants the gold medal in the 100 back. All for the 100 back!

NoLochteFan
Reply to  bobo gigi
9 years ago

These world class swimmers cannot double these days? I think Phelps actually swam better when he doubled…i.e. 200m IM Final / 100m Fly semi in London he dropped that 50.80 and then the next day he only had the 100m Fly and went the 51.1.

aswimfan
Reply to  NoLochteFan
9 years ago

Not all swimmers have the same recovery speed as Phelps.

And even Lochte’s double failed him last year, although he had no other choice but to do the double.

I agree that these top swimmers should still do double if they have a chance of medaling in those events, eg. Franklin (although her Barcelona schedule is PERFECT), Coutts.

But no need to waste your energy for an unlikely medal, eg. Ledecky in 200 free.

As Yang, he definitely has big chance of medaling in both 200 and 800 so can’t understand why he dropped 200. He still has the fastest 200 time this year.

For Stravius, I see that he has big chance of medaling in the 200 free… Read more »

aswimfan
Reply to  john26
9 years ago

If neither Agnel or Yang not swimming 200, Fraser-Holmes has big chance to medal, but not McEvoy.

Sun may not be in shape to win all 200/400/800/1500, but he is certainly in shape to swim them!!

Hackett was extremely out of shape in 2007, far worse than Yang is now (just google the photos of Hackett in 2007 where the australian media mercilessly attacked him, similar to what they did to Jones last year), and yet he swam 200/400/800/1500 in the trials and qualified in 400/800/1500.

9 years ago

Very disappointing. I just hope it’s not because of any physical problems or subpar preparation. Let’s hope he aims to break the world records, especially in the 400 meters. Also, Sun may consider the non-Olympic 800 meters to be less important, like Park who didn’t swim that event at the 2006 PanPacs where he won the 400 and 1500.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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