Hwang Sun-Woo Lowers World Junior Record in 200 Free; Seven Set South Korean Marks

Photo Courtesy: Anja Johnson

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Hwang Sun-Woo lowered his World Junior record in the men’s 200 freestyle Saturday at the Korean Swimming Trials.

Hwang clocked in at 1:44.96. It trounces the mark he set in November at 1:45.92.

It’s a historically quick time, one that would’ve won silver at the 2016 Olympics behind China’s Sun Yang and at the World Championships in 2017 and 2019, both behind Sun. The margin to gold at the last world championships was just .03 (1:44.93 was the winning time.) Hwang has come so far, so fast that he didn’t even qualify for those games in Gwanju. It’s the seventh-fastest time in the world, according to FINA’s rankings.

The time is also .16 off the national record, set at the 2010 Asian Games by four-time Olympic medalist Park Tae-Hwan.

“I was shocked that I finished in the 1:44 range,” Hwang told the Yonhap News Agency. “I felt my time would be pretty good because I had a good race. And once I saw the result on the board, I was pretty excited. I realized winning an Olympic medal won’t just be a pipe dream.”

Hwang also lowered his national record in the 100 free, something he took from Hwan last year. He cut nearly a quarter second off that mark to go 48.04 Friday. The world junior mark is 47.57, belonging to Andrei Minakov.

Hwang’s times complement a generally fast meet at the Jeju Sports Complex, which began last Thursday and runs through Monday. Seven South Korean records have been set, and swimmers have picked up two new Olympic automatic qualifying cuts. That makes 11 South Koreans who have qualified for an individual event.

Two of the records came in breaststroke on the men’s side. Cho-Sung Jae went 59.65 in the 100 breast, a national record and an A cut. Third in that race was Choi Dong-Yeol, who set the 50 breaststroke record with a time of 27.15.

Among the new qualifying times are two from backstroker Eunji Lee. She won the women’s 200 backstroke in 2:09.87 to get under the automatic qualifying standard by nearly a half-second. She added the 100 back A cut Saturday with a national record 1:00.03. It downs the mark set in 2019 by Im Da-Sol (1:00.16), whose 200 back record survived by less than four tenths.

Han Da-Kyung opened the meet by winning the women’s 1,500 free in 16:26.67, downing her national record from 2019 by nearly seven seconds and getting under the A standard for the Games.

Moon Seung-Woo won the men’s 200 fly in 1:56.25, the 19-year-old taking down a record that had been held since 2016 by Lee Tae-Go (1:56.62). He also won the 100 fly in 52.94. Lee Ju-Ho trimmed .03 off his national record in the 100 backstroke by going 53.68.

South Korean Swimmers With A Cuts

  • Hwang Sun-Woo, men’s 100 free and 200 free
  • Lee Ju-Ho, men’s 100 back and 200 back
  • Cho Sung-Jae, men’s 100 breast and 200 breast
  • Moon Seung-Woo, men’s 200 fly
  • Han Da-Kyung, women’s 1,500 free
  • Lee Eun-Ji, women’s 200 back and 100 back
  • Kim Seo-Yeong, women’s 200 IM