2008 Olympic gold medalist Park Tae Hwan of South Korea is headed stateside, as the 27-year-old is slated to compete at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Atlanta. The meet is scheduled for May 4th – 7th and will serve as qualifying trials for Park’s bid to swim at his first World Championships in six years. According to Park’s agency, Team GMP, Park will be swimming the 100m/200m/400m and 1500m freestyle races in Atlanta.
Park has been consistently training under the radar at Warringah in Australia with Tim Lane as coach. He was set to compete at NSW Championships, but bowed out at the last minute, making the Short Course World Championships in Windsor Park’s last major competition.
In Windsor, Park put a cap on his memorable back half of 2016 by upsetting 2016 Italian Olympic Champion Gregorio Paltrinieri in the 1500m freestyle race, clocking a new personal best time of 14:15.51. With his performance, Park lowered the Asian, Korean and Championship records all in one swim.
The Korea Herald reports that the Korean Swimming Federation, now under the direction of the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee due to corruption allegations, has been in administrative ‘shambles’ since March 2016. Korean trials are typically held in April, however, the KSF announced they will be held May 12th-15th this time around. The governing body will recognize times posted in overseas competition in May as well, which is how Park plans on qualifying.