China Has, By Far, the World’s Strongest Women’s Team: The Stats Tell How

By Phillip Whitten

(This is the third in a continuing series of articles about China's extraordinary rise — once again — in women's swimming. The pattern of Chinese performances points to one inescapable conclusion: there is widespread doping of Chinese swimmers.)

THE statistical evidence pointing to the widespread, if not systematic, doping of Chinese swimmers is overwhelming.

Consider this: In 2000 — an Olympic year, when athletes strive to peak — China failed to win a single medal. Only five Chinese women made the finals — that is, finished among the top eight. One Chinese relay finaled, finishing eighth. China's men were completely shut out, failing to place a single swimmer in the finals. For all intents and purposes, China was not a factor in Sydney.

At year's end, China had only three women ranked among the top eight in the world in all Olympic events, and only one, Qi Hui, ranked as high as third. No Chinese men ranked in the world's top 8 for the year.

At the 2001 World Championships — the most important meet of the year — once again, China did somewhat better than at the Olympics, placing eight women in the finals and winning four individual medals: one gold, two silver, two bronze. Still, nothing to raise any alarms. Two relays made the finals, with the medley relay winning bronze.

Again, China's men were completely shut out, with no individuals and no relays making finals.

Then came the Chinese National Championships in Guangzhou in November. Performances by the women were spectacular — too spectacular!! By the time the last race had been swum, Chinese women ranked first in the world for the year in six events, second in four, third in three. In other words, they were — all of a sudden — by far the most dominant team in the world, much stronger than the USA or Australia.

In fact, stronger than the USA and Australia combined!

Looking at the world's top 8, 35 Chinese made this elite list — about twice th number of Americans. Of those 35 swims, 32 were done at the Nationals, two at Worlds (by the same swimmer) and one at the East Asian Games.

What's more, the Shanghai provincial team swam the second fastest 800 free relay in history, 7:56.52 — only 5-hundredths slower than the world record set by a doped East German team. That performance was even more impressive when you consider that only four months earlier, the Chinese national team could manage only an 8:08+ at the World Championships, failing to make finals.

We don't know what Shanghai or the PLA team or any other team did in the other two relays, because the Chinese still haven't published the results. One suspects the winning times will also be faster than the national team's performances in Japan in July.

For their part, the Chinese men were faster at the November nationals than at any previous meet, making significant gains. Still none wound up ranked in the world's top eight in any event at year's end.

The charts below compare the Chinese women's and men's performances for 2000 and 2001, looking at the numbers who ranked in the world's top three and top eight.

The statistics tell the story — loud and clear. The conclusion is inescapable.

CHINESE SWIMMERS RANKED IN THE WORLD's TOP 3 in 2000/01 By Event
WOMEN MEN
2000 2001 2000 2001
Event
50 free 0 0 0 0
100 free 0 1 0 0
200 free 0 1 0 0
400 free 0 2 0 0
800/1500 free 0 2 0 0
100 back 0 1 0 0
200 back 0 0 0 0
100 breast 0 1 0 0
200 breast 1 2 0 0
100 fly 0 0 0 0
200 fly 0 0 0 0
200 IM 0 1 0 0
400 IM 0 2 0 0
TOTAL 1 13 0 0

CHINESE SWIMMERS RANKED IN THE WORLD's TOP 8 in 2000/01 By Event
WOMEN MEN
2000 2001 2000 2001
Event
50 free 0 1 0 0
100 free 0 2 0 0
200 free 0 3 0 0
400 free 0 3 0 0
800/1500 free 1 5 0 0
100 back 0 2 0 0
200 back 0 2 0 0
100 breast 0 2 0 0
200 breast 2 3 0 0
100 fly 0 2 0 0
200 fly 0 3 0 0
200 IM 0 3 0 0
400 IM 0 4 0 0
TOTAL 3 35 0 0

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