Male swimmers from China have flown the Chinese swimming team's flag and kept its dream alive as almost all female players missed podium spots at the Rio Olympics.
Xu Jiayu and Li Guangyuan both booked spots in the men's 200m backstroke final, ranking fifth and sixth respectively in Wednesday's semifinals.
The 21-year-old Xu, who already claimed a silver medal in the men's 100m backstroke final to become China's first male Olympic backstroke medalist, swam into the 200m backstroke final with a fifth place, clocking 1.55.66.
Li Guangyuan, 19, got off to a slow start and managed to finish the semifinal race with a personal best time of 1.55.92, ranking sixth to make Thursday's final. He also broke his own world junior record.
In the men's 200m individual medley semifinal, Wang Shun ranked sixth to earn a final berth and set up a confrontation with the world's most decorated Olympian Michael Phelps and world champion Ryan Lochte, the strong favorites for the event.
The three are looking forward to earning a place on the podium despite their prevailing rivals from the USA, Australia and Canada. And it's also a big relief to see more Chinese male athletes in the swimming pool to refresh their records.
This year seems to be an end of an era for Chinese female swimmers.
Zhou Yilin and Zhang Yufei finished fifth and sixth in the women's 200m butterfly final, missing a podium spot in the most promising swimming event, as the country has dominated the women's 200m butterfly since the 2008 Beijing Games.
Liu Zige won the Beijing Games gold medal in 2008 and Jiao Liuyang claimed the London title in 2012, but Liu failed to qualify for the Rio Games at the Chinese National Swimming Championships earlier this year.
Ye Shiwen, China's decorated gold medalist in London, was also in a low ebb as she slid to last place in the women's 200m individual medley final, failing to match her record-breaking performance four years ago.
Zhu Menghui also competed in the pool on Wednesday in the women's 100m freestyle semifinal but missed a spot in the final. The women's 4x200m freestyle relay team, made up of Shen Duo, Ai Yanhan, Dong Jie and Zhang Yuhan, also missed out on medals with a fourth-place finish.
Shi Jinglin, the last remaining hope among China's female swimmers, finished fourth in the women's 200m breaststroke semifinal, making it to tomorrow's final.