Both Hwang Sunwoo & Lee Ho-Joon Hit 1:45 200 Free In Korea After Aussie Camp


World champion Hwang Sunwoo was back in the water on day four of the 2023 Korean Swimming Championships, with the 19-year-old topping the men’s 200m freestyle podium.

Hwang punched a winning effort of 1:45.36 to easily clear the World Aquatics ‘A’ cut needed for this summer’s World Championships, but he wasn’t alone in his sub-1:46 effort.

Runner-up Lee Ho-Joon also turned some heads by grabbing a stellar silver in 1:45.70. Kim Woomin rounded out the top 3 in a mark of 1:46.10 for bronze, while Yang Jaehoon placed 4th in 1:48.13.

While Hwang owns a lifetime best and Korea national record of 1:44.47 from when he earned silver in the event at last year’s World Championships, the other two podium placements posted personal bests in tonight’s race.

Entering this competition, 22-year-old Lee’s career-quickest rested at the 1:46.99 he posted in October of last year while 21-year-old Kim’s PB was represented by the 1:47.69 he put up in March of 2022.

With that in mind, both Lee and Kim knocked over a second off of their best-ever performances with their outings. Additionally, Lee becomes just the third swimmer in Korean history to have dipped under the 1:46 threshold, joining Hwang and Olympic medalist Park Tae Hwan.

Hwang already resides in the #1 slot in the season’s world rankings, courtesy of the 1:44.47 he notched at last October’s Korean Sports Festival.

Lee, however, now slides into the rankings as the #2 swimmer.

2022-2023 LCM Men 200 Free

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The men’s 200m free results are especially significant considering the top 4 finishers just finished a 35-day training stint in Australia under storied coach Richard Scarce.

As we’ve reported, South Korea has its eyes on potentially making history at the Asian Games this September, aiming for gold in the men’s 4x200m free relay.

Training with Scarce was an important building block along the way, with Hwang saying of the training down under, “I was quite surprised by the intensity of coach Scarce’s training at first, which was 1.3, 1.4 times more intense than what I had done in Korea”

The best men’s 4x200m freestyle relay result achieved by the nation at an Asian Games was represented by a silver medal captured in 1994.

At the last edition of the Asian Games in 2018, Japan took the men’s 4x200m free relay gold in a collective effort of 7:05.17. Adding up tonight’s results, the top 4 finishers at these Korean Championships, all with flat starts, would combine for a time of 7:05.29, just .12 off of that gold medal performance.

2018 Asian Games Men’s 4x200m Free Relay Gold Medal (JPN) 2023 Korean Championships Collective Time of Top 4 Individual 200m Free Finishers
Naito Ehara – 1:47.31 Hwang Sunwoo -1:45.36
Reo Sakata -1:46.51 Lee Ho-jun – 1:45.70
Kosuke Hagino – 1:46.50 Kim Woomin -1:46.10
Katsuhiro Matsumoto – 1:44.85 Yang Jaehun – 1:48.13
7:05.17 7:05.29

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1 month ago

Wow I can’t believe the Australian tax payer has to fork out money for Koreans to come and train here and now they’re going to use that training to beat us in the 4×200 relay! Richard Scarce is a traitor!

(If it wasn’t obvious this is a joke)

1 month ago

They were 4th in the 800 free relay at SC Worlds. If they can get that 4th leg to lock in (or Park Tae-Hwan to unretire), they could very well rise to the podium at Worlds and the Olympics. South Korea has all the economic resources to be a world power in swimming and the top-level athlete (Sunwoo) and legacy (Tae-Hwan) to drive growth at the recruitment level.

1 month ago

just watch them take gold at fukuoka lmao

Swim Alchemist
1 month ago

Very solid times and big drops. A medal is possible this year if the improvement continues, though it might be a bit early. Next year? Definitely possible…maybe even gold if everything goes right.

1 month ago

Hope Kim can 1:45

1 month ago

Can’t wait for the next asian games!!

The last one was a blast

X Glide
1 month ago

South Korea’s 800 Free Relay looks very promising. Perhaps too early for a podium finish but they’ll be in the mix for sure

1 month ago

Is this the Korean qualifying meet for Worlds?

Reply to  bellyflopper
1 month ago

Yes..this is the Korean selection trials for Worlds and the Asian Games 2023

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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