Hwang Sun-woo is a competitive swimmer who represents South Korea internationally. He is a world champion, 2021 Olympian and was South Korea’s Flagbearer at those Games.
Hwang first made headlines in October 2020, when he posted impressive times of 48.51 in the 100 free and 1:46.31 in the 200 free at just the age of 17. He continued his improvement curve just a month later, breaking legendary countryman Park Tae Hwan’s 100 free national record in 48.25.
Just the next day, Hwang swam a 1:45.92 in the 200 free, breaking the world junior record as well as making him faster than swimming legend Michael Phelps was in the event at age 17. But Hwang was just getting started.
2021 Korean National Trials
At his countries Olympic Trials, Hwang qualified for his first Olympics at age 18 in the 50, 100, and 200 free. In the 100 free, he clocked a 48.04, re-breaking his own national record. Similarly in the 200, he broke his own world junior record once again, clocking a 1:44.96.
2020 Olympic Games
In Tokyo, Hwang started things off in the 200 free, where he blasted another personal best in the prelims, stopping the clock at 1:44.62 to re-break the world junior record for the third time in under a year. Sunwoo swam a gutsy swim in the final, taking it out in 49 and flipping first at the 150, but wasn’t able to hold on and ultimately finished in 7th place at 1:45.26.
Sunwoo was back in the 100 free the next session, going a PB of 47.97 to break a Korean record in prelims, then exploding for a 47.56 in semi-finals, moving him on to the final with his first-ever Asian record. In the final, Sunwoo wound up 5th, clocking 47.82.
2021 Short Course World Championships
In his first international meet following the Olympic Games, Hwang won his first piece of international hardware. In the 200 freestyle, he swam a perfect race to touch first by just .03 in a time of 1:41.60. He also competed in the 100 free, finishing 6th in the final and breaking South Korean records in both semi-finals (46.46) and finals (46.34).
2022 World Championships
In Budapest, Hwang started in the 200 free, where he moved through prelims and semis before dropping a PB in the final. He clocked a 1:44.47 to not only go his best time but earn silver behind fellow teenage star David Popovici.