2022 Swammy Awards: Asian Male Of The Year – Hwang Sunwoo

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One of last year’s Asian Male Swimmer of the Year honorable mentions got a significant upgrade, as Hwang Sunwoo of South Korea takes the 2022 title.

19-year-old Hwang Sunwoo put on quite a show this year, taking two medals at the major international competitions in 2022.

First, the freestyle ace scored silver at the long course World Championships, clocking a new national record of 1:44.47 in the men’s 200m freestyle. Entering Budapest, the teen’s quickest time was represented by the 1:44.62 he put up in the heats of the 2free event at the 2020 Olympic Games. He ultimately wound up 7th in 1:45.26 there in Tokyo.

Hwang’s 1:44.47 added to his growing collection of sub-1:45 times, with the Suwon-Si native slowly starting to overlap former national record holder and Olympic medalist Park Tae Hwan on the all-time Korean performances list.

Top 10 Korean Men’s 200m Freestyle Times in History

  1. Hwang Sunwoo – 1:44.47
  2. Hwang Sunwoo – 1:44.62
  3. Park Tae Hwan – 1:44.80
  4. Park Tae Hwan – 1:44.85
  5. Park Tae Hwan – 1:44.92
  6. Park Tae Hwan – 1:44.93
  7. Hwang Sunwoo – 1:44.96
  8. Park Tae Hwan – 1:45.16
  9. Park Tae Hwan – 1:45.25
  10. Hwang Sunwoo – 1:45.26

But Hwang wasn’t one to rest on his laurels as he raced his way to gold in the 200m free at the just-concluded Short Course World Championships. In Melbourne, he managed to repeat as 200m free champion against a stacked field, one which included reigning Olympic champion Tom Dean of Great Britain and long course 100m free World Record holder David Popovici.

Hwang scorched a winning time of 1:39.72 to put up the first sub-1:40 short course 200m free since Frenchman Yannick Agnels 1:39.70 a decade ago.

Hwang’s swim destroyed Danas Raspys‘ championship record time of 1:40.95, which was set at the 2018 edition of short course worlds and came within striking distance of Paul Biedermann‘s 1:39.37 World Record. In the process, he cracked his own Asian record time of 1:40.99, which was set leading off the 4×200 free relay in Melbourne.

At the 2021 edition of the Short Course World Championships Hwang won in a time of 1:41.60 meaning the Olympian dropped nearly one second in just a year’s time to become the #3 performer in history.

All-Time Top Performers, Men’s 200-Meter Free (SCM):

  1. Paul Biedermann, Germany — 1:39.37 (2009)
  2. Yannick Agnel, France — 1:39.70 (2012)
  3. Hwang Sunwoo, South Korea — 1:39.72 (2022)
  4. Danila Izotov, Russia — 1:40.08 (2009)
  5. Duncan Scott, Great Britain — 1:40.25 (2020)


  • Tomoru Honda, Japan – Tomoru Honda began his 2022 racing season with a 200m fly bronze at the long course World Championships in Budapest. However, the 20-year-old Olympic medalist’s biggest achievement on the year was rocking a new World Record in the short course 200 butterfly. Honda clocked a massive 1:46.85 at October’s Japanese Championships to crush the previous WR mark of 1:48.24 teammate Daiya Seto put on the books at the 2018 FINA Short Course World Championships. Prior to his sub-1:47 WR, Honda’s fastest SC 200m fly result rested at the 1:49.84 he hit in 2021. As such, in one year’s time, the national record hold managed to hack 3 seconds off of his best-ever to establish a new World Record. Honda finished his racing triumphs with a massive 1:52.70 long course 200 fly time while competing at the Japan Open earlier this month, becoming the #4 performer all-time in the process.
  • Daiya Seto, Japan – After a lackluster Olympics in his native Japan, 28-year-old Daiya Seto started his 2022 comeback with a bronze in the men’s 200m IM at the long course World Championships. Months later in Melbourne, the father of two did even further damage, winning the 400m IM and 200m breast while also snagging silver in the 200m fly. While his 2breast victory came within .19 of the. World Record, Seto’s 400m IM gold represented the versatile athlete’s sixth consecutive short course title in the event, becoming the first-ever swimmer to accomplish the feat.



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Demarrit Steenbergen
5 months ago

Who could have written this but retta?

Emily Se-Bom Lee
5 months ago

the rankings are missing park’s 1:45.01 from 2016: https://swimswam.com/park-tae-hwan-clocks-14501-200-free-at-korean-sports-festival/

or was that scm?

5 months ago

All great and deserving swimmers but I would have picked Seto. Medaled at both world champs in multiple disciplines, and then the first 6-peat gives him the edge in my mind.

Alice wang
5 months ago

As expected and deserved!

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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