13TH ANNUAL NATIONAL GAMES OF CHINA
- Tianjin, China
- August 27th – September 8th
- SwimSwam Meet Preview
- Day 1 Recap
- Day 2 Recap
- Day 3 Recap
- Day 4 Recap
- Day 5 Recap
- Day 6 Recap
Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen was once on top of the world, having claimed both 200m IM and 400m IM titles at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Then just 16 years of age, Ye represented the first swimmer from her nation to collect two golds at an Olympics, with countryman Sun Yang completing the same feat days later.
Since that time, however, Ye has fallen on rough times performance-wise, finishing 7th in the 400m IM at the 2013 World Championships and 15th in the event in Kazan. At the 2016 Olympic Games, the former world record holder and youngest Chinese world champion finished well out of the semi-finals in the event with a 27th place after heats.
Once considering retirement, now-21-year-old Ye is determined to get her career back on track, first by acknowledging that she has had her share of problems. Speaking with the press while competing at the National Games in China this week, Ye said, “For the past few years I was at a low ebb. Although my daily training went quite nicely, I couldn’t bring it to a full display in competitions because every time I competed, I was afraid. I wanted to win as much as I feared to lose.” (Xinhua)
Having put on teenage weight and experienced bouts of trouble sleeping, the young athlete’s confidence was shaken, leading her Coach Xu Guoyi to even suggest that she give up swimming to focus solely on her studies. But Ye said, “I didn’t want to let it go. I am extremely self-disciplined in life and absolutely hard-working. I want to show all my efforts in the competition. I will not give up. I will continue trying until I win.”
In Tianjin this week, Ye finished 6th in the 400m IM, but bounced back with a gold in the 200m IM race. Stopping the clock in 2:10.91, Ye was able to beat out the competition by well over a second, while earning a time on her own personal top 10 list.
After her race on Sunday, Ye said, “I conquered the fear in me. After I lost the 400m, I couldn’t sleep. I had been well prepared for the race and believed that I was in good shape, but the loss almost crushed me.
“I started to doubt myself again like before. I was so afraid that fear would catch hold of me again.” But in fact Ye’s 200 IM on Sunday was her best performance in over a year.
“Hopefully, this victory at the National Games will be my first step out of the my past shadows.”