Asia Recap, Day 5: 13-Yr-Old Moon Sua Of South Korea Marks Youngest Athlete


We’ve seen impressive performances by teenagers throughout the first five days of these 2022 FINA World Championships.

Last night Romania’s David Popovici produced a gold medal-winning performance in the men’s 100m free at 17 years old, while the same-aged Benedetta Pilato of Italy grabbed gold in the women’s 100m breast.

At just 15 years of age, Canadian phenom Summer McIntosh clocked a new World Junior Record en route to topping the women’s 200m fly podium.

However, yesterday we also saw our youngest pool swimming competitor yet here in Budapest, Moon Sua representing the nation of South Korea at just 13 years of age – younger than some of the existing World Records.

Moon is not just here as a ‘swimming tourist,’ either: Born on November 2, 2008, Moon Sua raced her way into the women’s 200m breaststroke semi-finals after clocking a time of 2:27.91 in the heats. She followed that up with a much quicker mark of 2:26.64 in the evening session, just missing the final.

Her semi-final time surpassed the 2:27.90 she registered to win the event at the Korean Trials this past March and falls just shy of her lifetime best of 2:25.48.

After her prelims performance, the teen told FINA, “Other than the time itself I was really excited to race next to Lilly King and see Caeleb Dressel in real life so that experience itself was really exciting and I am happy to be here to do that.

“I really wanted to see Lilly King in person. I haven’t had a chance to get a picture with her yet but I am waiting for the opportunity.” (FINA)

Looking past swimmers who competed at a World Championships early on in their careers, we look to the 2015 edition of the World Championships. 10-year-old Alzain Tareq of Bahrain made headlines as the youngest swimmer to ever compete at the World Championships, which prompted a change in FINA rules. Tareq made an appearance at the 2016 FINA World Cup after her World Championship swim, but now once again age eligible, she has not appeared at another World Championship meet.

According to FINA’s bylaws, the minimum age for swimmers competing in the Olympic Games, FINA World Championships and FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) shall be the same as the minimum age for the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships: Women, 14 years of age, and Men, 15 years of age, on 31st December in the year of competition, except younger competitors may participate in these competitions if they have achieved at least the “B” Standard Entry Time in the respective event.

Additional Notes:

  • 100m backstroke finalist Ryosuke Irie of Japan wound up not swimming the 200m back. The 32-year-old has made the final in the 200m back at a Long Course World Championships every edition beginning in 2009. His medal tally includes silver in the 200m back both in 2009 and 2011.

National Records Through Day 5

  • South Korea: men’s 4×100 free relay – 3:15.68; Hwang Sunwoo, men’s 200m free – 1:44.47
  • Malaysia: Khiew Hoe Yean, men’s 400m freestyle – 3:48.72
  • Kyrgyzstan: Denis Petrashov, men’s 50m breaststroke – 27.89
  • China: Tang Qianting, women’s 50m breaststroke – 30.25; Pan Zhanle, men’s 100m freestyle – 47.65
  • Singapore: Gan Ching Hwe, women’s 1500m freestyle – 16:32.43


China 1 0 3 4
South Korea 0 1 0 1
Japan 0 0 2 2


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Pacific Whirl
10 days ago

When did she register 2:25? Any links? FINA lists her 200 time as 2:27.9.

11 days ago

“I really wanted to see Lilly King in person. I haven’t had a chance to get a picture with her yet but I am waiting for the opportunity.”

Awww that’s so adorable! I hope she tracks Lilly down (or vice-versa) and gets a photo!

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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