Having missed out on selection for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, former Sydney University Swimming Club member Will Yang is hopeful of making the Australian team for the Paris Games.

A former member of the Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness Elite Athlete Program, Yang was named Male Blue of the Year in 2019 after winning gold in the 50m butterfly at the World University Games in Naples and the 50m backstroke title at the Australian Championships.

Yang took eight months off swimming after missing Tokyo Games selection but returned with a vengeance at the 2022 Australian Championships in Adelaide, claiming the 100m title in a personal best time of 48.55s.

He then won gold in the 4x100m mixed relay and silver in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay at the FINA World Championships in Budapest. The Bachelor of Design in Architecture student backed that up at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games winning gold on the first day of competition as a member of the Australian 4x100m mixed squad relay that edged out England (silver) and Canada (bronze). He then won a second gold as a member of the  men’s 4x100m freestyle relay.

Born in Sydney, Yang’s Chinese parents moved back to Guangzhou in southern China where he completed his primary schooling and returned to Sydney when he was 11 for him to attend Knox Grammar for high school. It was there that he began excelling in sports, especially swimming. When he became a freshman at Sydney University in 2019 he joined the swimming club and started serious training with an Olympic dream.

That dream took a hit just before the 2023 Australian titles when scans revealed a benign tumor in his spinal canal that required surgery. After overcoming that setback, a cartilage tear in his shoulder put him out of action for another two months before he returned to training in January this year.

That led to him reclaiming the NSW 100m freestyle title in March and he then set a personal best time of 48.20sec to finish second behind 2016 Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers at the Australian Open Championships on the Gold Coast in April. The Olympic dream is moving one stroke closer.