Gold Medalist Hwang Sunwoo Reflects On Korea’s Historic World Championships

20-year-old Hwang Sunwoo of Korea made history for his nation by becoming the first-ever swimmer to earn a medal at three consecutive World Championships.

Competing in Doha last week, Hwang topped the men’s 200m freestyle podium, producing a swift time of 1:44.75. That improved upon his bronze medal result last year in Fukuoka and silver medal captured nearly 2 years ago in Budapest.

Hwang wasn’t the nation’s first swimming gold medalist in Doha, however. Teammate Kim Woomin stunned the field with a victory in the men’s 400m free on night one, putting up a lifetime best of 3:42.71.

Later on in the competition, Hwang and Kim joined Yang Jaehoon and Lee Hojoon to nearly take gold in the men’s 4x200m free relay. Highlighted by Hwang’s ferocious 1:43.76 anchor, their collective time of 7:01.94 fell just .10 outside of first place. But the outing still represented Korea’s first-ever World Championships medal in any relay.

Along with two diving medals, Korea found itself ranked 8th in the overall medal table across all aquatic disciplines. This marked the nation’s first time ever placing among the top 10 countries.

Speaking to reports upon arriving back at Incheon International Airport yesterday, Hwang made no qualms about stating his goals for Paris 2024.

“My next goal is to reach the Olympic podium in the 200m and stand on the relay podium with my teammates.

“We were disappointed to finish just 0.1 second behind China in the relay, but I think it was a great learning experience for all of us before the biggest competition of them all, the Olympics. If we can address some of our shortcomings in the relay, then an Olympic medal will no longer be a pipe dream.” (Yonhap)

Comparing his Olympic debut in Tokyo where he finaled in both the 200m and 100m freestyle events, Hwang said, “In Tokyo, I knew nothing about managing races, and I didn’t have good finishes.

“This time, I didn’t get caught up in trying to keep pace with [American Luke] Hobson, and I let my final spurt take me to first place.

“In Budapest, I couldn’t believe I’d won a medal. Over the past two years, I’ve been winning medals here and there, and gaining experience. I think that gave me a strong foundation for the gold medal this time.” (Yonhap)

In This Story

3
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of

3 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Johnny
1 month ago

Hwang has always been a humble young. He rarely talks big before the competitions. I think this is very good for him. Guys, let’s go back to 2021, if I said to you that South Korea would be a podium contender in the 800m relay, I bet a lot of people would call me crazy.Hwang and his teammates seem to be doing something great, even if they may fail.

aquajosh
1 month ago

They have three legs dialed in: Woomin, Hojoon, and Sunwoo are firm. If they can fix the inconsistencies with the first leg, their fastest splits are:

1:46.83 Yang Jaehoon
1:44.84 Kim Woomin
1:44.53 Lee Hojoon
1:43.76 Hwang Sunwoo

Right now, that first leg is between Lee Yooyeon (who split 1:47.1 in the morning) and Yang Jaehoon (who split 1:47.6 but has a flat start time of 1:46.8), and they also have Junwoo Kim at home, who went 1:48.2/3:50/15:01 at World Juniors.

South Korea is on the rise and has all the economic resources to become a world power in swimming, plus they have the top-level talent (Sunwoo and now Woomin) and the swimming legacy (hosting Worlds… Read more »

Calisurf
Reply to  aquajosh
1 month ago

End of March (March 22-27)

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.

Read More »