Hwang Sunwoo Reclaims Spot Atop Men’s 200 Free World Rankings – 1:44.61


  • Saturday, June 10th – Thursday, June 15th
  • Nambu University International Swimming Pool
  • LCM (50m)
  • Results

World Championships medalist and Korean national record holder Hwang Sunwoo put up a statement-making swim on his home soil.

Competing on day four of the 2nd Gwangju National Swimming Championships, 20-year-old Hwang posted a time of 1:44.61 to top the men’s 200m free podium.

Hwang got to the wall over a second ahead of teammate Hojun Lee who touched in 1:46.19 while Jaehoon Yang rounded out the top 3 in 1:48.40.

As for Hwang, entering this competition his fastest 200m free time of 2023 checked in at the 1:45.36 he produced in March. Before that, he scorched a 1:44.67 in October at the 2022 Korean Sports Festival.

With his 1:44.61 outing here, Hwang now reclaims his spot atop the world’s rankings on the season, usurping Chinese ace Pan Zhanle who led the globe with his 1:44.65 from Chinese Nationals last month. His time represents the 2nd fastest of his career.

Splits were not available at the time of publishing

2022-2023 LCM Men 200 Free

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On his performance this evening, Hwang told Asian media, “I was happy to have posted the best time of the season, but at the same time, I was a bit disappointed I didn’t break the national record. I prepared really hard for this competition. I wanted to improve my 200m time here.”

Hwang’s national record stands at the 1:44.47 he posted en route to claiming silver at the 2022 World Championships.

In terms of his time against the context of current medal contenders for Fukuoka, Hwang said, “Pan Zhanle and I are both Asians, and we’re about the same age. He’s someone I will have to compete with, and I am relieved to have posted a slightly better time than his.

“Obviously, I’ve been keeping an eye on him because he’s been putting up great times,” Hwang said. “Since we’ll be battling at the world championships and also the Asian Games (in September this year), I’ve been thinking about him.

“I felt I absolutely had to be in the 1:44 range to do well at the world championships and the Asian games later. At least I got to the mid-1:44s. I will try to break my own record at the worlds.” (Yonhap)

Hwang will take on the 100m free tomorrow in Gwangju

Additional Notes

  • Kim Seoyeoung topped the podium twice thus far, winning the women’s 200m IM and 100m fly. The 29-year-old clocked a time of 2:11.69 in the former and 58.76 in the latter. She is the 200m IM national record holder with her lifetime best of 2:08.34 from the 2018 Asian Games.
  • Kim Woomin fell just shy of cracking the Korean national record in the men’s 800m free. The ace notched a winning mark of 7:49,97, a mark only .04 short of Olympian Park Tae Hwan’s national standard of 7:49.93 put up at the 2012 Olympic Games. Kim now ranks 15th in the world this season.

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11 months ago

FYI, HWANG is his family name

Reply to  P.RrG
11 months ago

I confused about the point you’re trying to make is? Surnames in China, Japan, and Korea have their surnames mentioned first, although Japanese names are most likely to be written first/last in international media unlike the other nationalities.

Reply to  Arisuin
11 months ago

Yeah never knew why it’s mostly just our names written other way round

Reply to  Swimmerfromjapananduk
11 months ago

During the Meiji era, the Japanese deliberately reversed the name order when dealing with the West, to present themselves as less foreign. The practice has stuck since, but I believe the Japanese government is trying to go back to the original order. This is also why names of pre-Meiji historical figures are in the original order (e.g. Tokugawa Ieyasu). The Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese never did the same.

Reply to  Arisuin
11 months ago

In the world rankings it has his given name big and surname small, so the pattern is inconsistent with the western swimmers in the ranking.

Reply to  Reid
11 months ago

Right…even in this article other Korean athletes’ names are written the other way round. Sometimes cannot tell which is which.

Reply to  P.RrG
11 months ago

We know??

11 months ago

I love how he honest he is. He talks about a competitor freely whereas I feel like many folks usually gives generic responses and say they’re focused on themselves and avoid talking about anyone else.

Reply to  AussieAussieAussie
11 months ago

The Aussies talk about competitors.
the Americans usually act like they don’t know their competitors names.

11 months ago

I suspect it will be a bloodbath for 2-6th spots…

If translated correctly, it sounds like Swoon was well prepared and looking to swim best times at this meet. So 1’44.6 is perhaps a little underwhelming if he expects to challenge Popovici.

Swoon, Zhanle, Dean, Richards, Matsumoto USA x2(Potentially), Aus x1. Anyone missing?

Great race in store…

Reply to  AquaDuck
11 months ago

Scott and scheffer

Reply to  MrBr
11 months ago

Scott did not qualify. Its Dean and Richards for GBR

Reply to  MrBr
11 months ago

Would love to have seen Scott in this, great racer. But his trials cost him a spot.

Samuel Huntington
Reply to  AquaDuck
11 months ago

I don’t see the Americans in play for the medals. I am thinking Popovici, Sunwoo, and a Brit.

Reply to  Samuel Huntington
11 months ago

Kibler has been 1:45.0 (and is going in-season bests) & Smith 1:44.9. I wouldn’t bet on either one medaling, but it’s not hard to imagine either. Hobson has the talent to make it a conversation too. If it’s just a larger point that their less worthy of mention than all the international guys who have been 1:44 this year, that probably true.

Reply to  AquaDuck
11 months ago

Can we say that any US swimmers are at this level yet this year? I know Smith and Kibler have posted 1.44s and 1.45.0 respectively, but we’ll have to see at trials if they’re in that kind of shape I think. Same goes for the Aus competitor (Graham?). If we’re going off PBs, we’d have Scheffer and Scott (as mentioned by MrBr), but also Rapsys, Djakovic and Martens who have been 1.44 or 1.45 low respectively.

It’s a pretty crowded field, getting to the final might be pretty tough!

Reply to  Koen
11 months ago

The American to keep an eye on is Hobson

Reply to  AquaDuck
11 months ago

I think it will be:
Gold: Popovici
Silver/Bronze: 2 out of Hwang, Pan, Dean and Richards

11 months ago

I wonder if the 1:44.00 barrier is a talent barrier or a training barrier. Guess we’lll get more data points this summer/next summer

Reply to  John26
11 months ago

It’s definitely a big talent barrier. Look at how many have broken 1:44, I’m sure everyone floating around 1:44-1:45 are training just as hard as those that dipped under. By no means am I saying you can only go under 1:44 if you have talent, but it’s definitely essential. IMO

Reply to  Swimmerfromjapananduk
11 months ago

If it’s essential
you need it to go under 1:44
then its the only way to go under 1:44

Reply to  PACFAN
11 months ago

Its a crucial factor but not the only thing. The people who have done it also seldom repeated the feat meaning without the right prep they can’t do it either

11 months ago

200 Free at World´s will be very existing, but I don´t see anybody beating Popovici

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Philipp
11 months ago

the 200 free final certainly will exist

Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
11 months ago

Exciting lol

Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
11 months ago

We hope all finals exist

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