With the 2023 World Championships now in the past, men’s 200m freestyle bronze medalist Hwang Sunwoo of South Korea is reflecting on his performances.
Hwang had high hopes for the 100m freestyle as well, but fell well short of his podium goal, settling for 9th in a time of 48.08. That’s despite the 20-year-old entering the competition with a season-best of 47.78.
According to The Korea Times, the timing of Hwang’s events came into play with his results. The Olympian arrived back at his hotel well past midnight after the medal ceremony and subsequent doping test post-200m free and was back in the water the following morning for the 100m free heats.
He was ‘visibly exhausted, barely able to stay on his feet after his morning race’.
Hwang said, “I wasn’t born with great stamina, and I am trying to make up for it the best I can with training.”
“I haven’t made notable progress with my stamina, even though I’ve been putting in the work,” Hwang said. “I want to get to a point where I can withstand the pressure of doing multiple races.”
Hwang has just a month to improve in this area before the Asian Games begin. There he’ll face Chinese breakout freestyler Pan Zhanle, although Pan performed short of medal-producing expectations.
Pan entered Fukuoka as the newly-minted Asian Record holder in the 100m freestyle after registering a scorching time of 47.22 at May’s Chinese Nationals. Taking on the world’s best, Pan was relegated to 4th place, hitting 47.43.
In the 200m free where Pan owns a lifetime best of 1:44.65, the 18-year-old placed 10th in 1:46.05.
Hwang has Pan in his sights, telling The Korea Times, “In the 100m, I will be chasing him, and I won’t feel that much pressure there,” Hwang said. “In the 200m, I am a little faster but his personal best is not that far from my best record. I won’t let my guard down and I will try to stay focused.”
Both Pan and Hwang are the 100m and 200m freestyle top dogs for Hangzhou but a handful of potential disruptors exist in the form of Japan’s Katsuhiro Matsumoto, Korea’s Lee Ho-Ju and China’s Wang Haoyu, among others.