Park Tae Hwan Swims World-Leader in 200 Free to Start Korean Nationals

The pre-meet buzz in Incheon, South Korea for the 2014 South Korean National Championships was Park Tae Hwan’s quest to make the Asian Games roster (which will be hosted in this same pool) in the 200 and IMs.

But on Wednesday, as the trials began, he whispered a reminder that he is still one of the world’s best middle-distance freestyles. In 2014, make that the best so far, at least in the 200, after swimming a 1:45.25. That cuts two-tenths off of Cameron McEvoy’s old world leading swim.

2014 LCM Men 200 Free TYR World Ranking

2Kosuke
HAGINO
JPN1.45.2309/21
3Tae Wan
PARK
KOR1.45.2507/16
4Sun
YANG
CHN1.45.2809/21
5Cameron
McEVOY
AUS1.45.4604/02
View Top 51»

As an event winner, he’ll qualify for the 2014 Asian Games, as will all event winners. He’s the two-time defending Asian Games champion in the event, and this time is already good enough to have won in 2006 or 2010. The trend at the Asian Games, though, is huge improvements in times with every edition, especially in the men’s events, and especially in the middle-distance freestyles. A medal in 2006 was a 1:49, which became a 1:47 in 2010, and with China’s improvements will be at least a 1:45 this year. That doesn’t make Park less than the favorite, however, between now and late September when the Asian Games kick off, he’s gotta find another few tenths to drop.

The rest of the first day’s results were solid. Choi Kyu-woong won the men’s 100 breaststroke in a new Meet Record of 1:02..08, which is still a second shy of his own National Record. The women’s event was taken by Back Su Yeon in 1:09.57, just out-touching Kim Hye-jin’s 1:09.65.

The only other race on Wednesday was the 50 butterfly, where Yun Seok Huan broke another Meet Record, going 24.24. In the women’s race, two went under the old contest standard, with Whang Seo Jin beating An Se Hyeon 27.15-27.16.

Full, live meet results available here (in Korean).

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Rafael

Less than the favorite? Sun Yang is the favorite if he swim and swim the same ways as the last china Games..

Hswimmer

I totally agree!

Josh

I think Park still has a trick or two up his sleeve. I would also expect that you’ll see South Korea start to become more of a world power in swimming in the future. They have a strong economy, and Tae-Hwan is a very, very popular athlete with massive exposure, and probably only second to Kim Yuna in idolation. That usually encourages more children to consider swimming as an option.

swimzlazy

Ya Josh, the sad thing is South Korea has more of a democratic process and free market economy than the U.S. now. We are rapidly turning into a communist nation like North Korea under this administration

DL

I don’t think this is an appropriate comment for this site. Please stay away from politics.

nemo

Are you serious? lol the world has never seen a “communist nation” and North Korea is the furthest thing from it haha. Please read a book 🙂

ThatSwimKid

Always enjoyed watching Park swim. He had been a dominant force in them if distance freestyles for so long, it will be fun to see how his IMs turn out.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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