Swimming World Performance of the Week: Wang Lizhuo’s 100 Breast

China got a big boost in its prospects for the 2016 Olympics, as Wang Lizhuo became the first 18-and-under swimmer to break 1:00 in the 100 breaststroke with a 59.79 at the Chinese nationals this week.

The time will be the new world junior record, breaking the weeks-old mark of 1:00.14 by Anton Chupkov at the world junior championships. Wang is just 17 years old, with a good future ahead of him in an event where most of those ranked ahead of him in the world are in their mid- to late-20s.

Lizhou was nowhere near the top 200 in the world in 2014, and got into the top 30 in the world this year with a 1:00.38 at the April nationals. Wang dropped six tenths off his lifetime best to jump into the top 20 in the world in 2015. At this rate of improvement, Wang could find himself in the 100 breast final next year at the Olympics. At the every least, he could get the experience he needs to be a legitimate medal challenger at the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

Not only does Wang’s swim signal good things for China looking past the 2016 Olympics, but it also makes China’s medley relay a distinct medal hopeful next year.

With the talents of Xi Jiayu on backstroke, Li Zhuhao on butterfly and Ning Zetao on the freestyle, Wang’s contribution on breaststroke could keep the Chinese in the medal hunt against the likes of the United States, France and Australia next year in Rio.

Congratulations Wang Lizhou on earning the Swimming World Performance of the Week!

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