The 17-year-old Ye had been the hot favourite for Monday’s 200m IM final at swimming’s world championships in Barcelona, but finished a full second behind the medallists as Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu claimed gold.
Hosszu, 24, won by a considerable margin, clocking 2mins 07.92secs with Australia’s Alicia Coutts second at 1.47sec back and Spain’s Mireia Belmonte 1.53 behind, but defending champion Ye was a noticeable absentee on the dais.
Ye dismal showing surprised Hosszu. “I’m sure she will get back up there soon, she’s a great swimmer and I’m sure it is really tough to get back after an Olympic gold medal,” said Hosszu.
Ye has her next chance at an individual medal in Sunday’s 400m IM, in which she set the world record at the Olympics last year in controversial fashion by swimming the last leg faster than Ryan Lochte did when he won the men’s Olympic title.