• Ning Zetao is one the sports icons who made buzz this 2015.

Ning Zetao is one the sports icons who made buzz this 2015. (Photo : CFP)

Twenty-two-year-old swimmer Ning Zetao proved he is more than just a "fresh meat"--a term for good-looking male youngsters--but an athlete with world-class sports skills.

Ning, who has caught China's attention with his good-looking face and strong-built abs, recently snatched the 100-meter freestyle men's category's top award at the 2015 FINA Swimming World Championship held in Kazan, Russia.

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Ning's achievement, which was a first for Asian swimmers, propelled his social media following, with his Weibo account's followers jumping from 10,000 to over 1.1 million in a mere span of 24 hours.

The swimming arena's "fresh meat" won the title in a time of 47.84 seconds, defeating Australia's Cameron McEvoy and breaking the dominance of the Western athletes in the event.

Ning first stepped into the spotlight at last year's 17th Asian Games held in Incheon, South Korea. Though he also performed a record-breaking feat, he has been idolized mainly because of his looks.

Hailing from Henan Province's Zhengzhou, he began taking formal swimming lessons when he was eight years old. By the age of 14, he was already recruited to play for PLA Navy's swim team.

However, the swimmer shared that he does not like being tagged as "little fresh meat" or even "national god." To his content, he said that he preferred being called "Baoxi," which literally means "stuffed bun."

"I like eating the buns and look like one. The food contains rich and delicious fillings," he remarked, further adding that the fillings can be compared to a person's character, which he regards as the most important thing.