William Xu Yang
With Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallist Kyle Chalmers earning automatic selection for the 100m freestyle in Birmingham and opting not to swim the event at the Australian championships, many were wondering who would take the chance to step up in the blue-riband event. Enter William Yang (swimming), who went on to win gold in the men’s 4x100m freestyle and mixed 4x100m freestyle in Birmingham, as well as silver for a heat swim in the men’s 4x100m medley. He also reached the final of the 100m freestyle. At the world championships in Budapest five weeks earlier, Yang also won gold in the 4x100m mixed relay (heat swim) and a silver in the men’s 4×100 m freestyle relay.
Yang previously focused on backstroke and butterfly before switching to freestyle, claiming gold in the 50m butterfly at the 2019 World University Games in Naples. After missing selection for the Tokyo Olympics, he took some time away from the sport in Hong Kong and thought about giving swimming away as he balanced peer and financial pressure, and the toll it was having on his mental health. However, he returned to full-time training in Sydney in February 2022 and his decision to give it one more crack – and spend more time on freestyle – paid dividends.
Born in Sydney, Yang’s parents are from China and the family moved back to Guangzhou where he completed his primary schooling. He moved back to Sydney to attend Knox Grammar for high school where he began to excel in sports, especially swimming.
Yang was formerly coached by Bobby Hurley at Loreto Normanhurst, but now works with the NSW Performance Hub at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre under Adam Kable.
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