Sun started diving training in 1984. As a talented athlete, he entered China national diving team in 1989. In 1990, he won the gold medal in the 10 meter platform in Asian Games. In next year, he won gold metals in both Diving World Cup and World Diving Championship.
He suffered from retina disease in 1993, and took a break for a while. In 1994, he returned to the diving pool after surgery, and in Diving World Cup in 1995, he again defeated all the opponents, leading the second by more than 50 points.
Before the Olympics Games in Atlanta in 1996, according to national regulation, the records of the medalists in Olympics Games would be counted into provincial scores in China's National Games held in the following year. Thus, the competition among provinces was fierce. Finally, the national diving team decided to hold selection contests to determine the national representatives to the Olympics. There were two rounds of contests, and the first, second and third places would score 7, 5 and 4 respectively. In the end, Sun's close competitors, Tian Liang from Shaanxi and Xiao Hailiang from Hubei, each won a first and a third places, while for some reason, Sun himself, won second place twice. As a result, he did not make the trip to Atlanta. The outcome was somehow shocking nationwide at that time, especially when Xiao Hailiang and Tian Liang only won the third and the fourth places in that Olympics. This incident became Sun's regret for lifetime.
After that, Sun was still active in all kinds of competitions. In 1998 and 1999, together with Tian Liang, he won 10 meter platform double diving in Diving World Cup and World Diving Championship. However, due to chronic injury, he did not attend the Olympics Games in Sydney.
Sun was retired officially in 2001. Later, in 2002, he became a coach in national diving team. In 2005, he returned to Guangdong and became a coach in the provincial diving team there.
- (in Chinese)Sun Shuwei: Devoting Whole Life to Diving, Qianjiang Evening
- (in Chinese)No Sorrow but Regret for Atlanta
- (in Chinese)Unvanished Meteor: Interview with Sun Shuwei in Guangzhou by Sports Weekly[permanent dead link]