Tae-Hwan Park Not on South Korean World Championship Roster

Four-time Olympic medalist and the defending World Champion in the 400 meter free, Park Tae-Hwan has been left off of the World Championship roster for Barcelona, the federation announced earlier this week.

No specific reason was given, other than Park’s desire to take a year off after finishing 2nd in both the 200 and 400 free at last summer’s Olympic Games.

Many viewed the 23-year old superstar as perhaps the only swimmer in the world who had a chance at challenging China’s Sun Yang this summer in any of the three longest freestyle events on the schedule (the 400, the non-Olympic 800, or the 1500).

With his absence from the meet, and the retirement of American bronze medalist Peter Vanderkaay, Yang will be the only returning medalist from the 400 free. Though his margin isn’t likely to be as big (the Australians are swimming well), that means the next highest finisher expected to return from London is Sun’s 4th-place teammate Hao Yun, who was a full six seconds slower at the Olympics.

In total, 19 swimmers will be sent to the World championships: a solid roster for a Korean contingent that has built upon Park’s success.

For those who speak Korean, and have Korean word processors, the full roster can be downloaded here: http://swimming.sports.or.kr/servlets/org/front/board/action/board

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This is not good news. Park´s beautiful and balanced stroke is always a pleasure to watch. I expected Men´s 200m freestyle would be a great fight between at least three, but hopes for this began eroding after Agnel withdrew himself from individual events. With this news Men´s 200m free is completely drying up unless an unexpected star emerges for which I of course hope. Now we can start to wonder if Yang will win freestyle events from 200m to 1500m.

On women´s side there is still hope. If only Pellegrini can restore her best form, one can expect a good competition for 200m and 400m free.


I wrote a reply yesterday but somehow my response does not exist now.

Anyway, Park’s absence from worlds has been known for months. Michael Bohl said this months ago.

Also, don’t get hopes too high for Pellegrini. She is focusing on backstroke events this year.


A while back I read somewhere that Park had plans to retire after the London Games but only continued because of his disappointing 400 meter result (in his view). His motivation may be lacking. A big loss for the meet.

Btw what’s up with this new trend of referring to Sun by his given name everywhere? I assume people know he’s Chinese?


Park’s official reasons to continue swimming :
After the London Olympics, Park said he can’t imagine life without swimming.
Plus, he wants to compete in the 2014 Asian Games because it’ll be held in Incheon, South Korea.

And this is the reason for his absence:
Park wants to swim and study at the same time. (He’s in graduate school now)
It’s not easy to do that in Korea.
Moreover, there are not much long course pools near Seoul.
So he couldn’t train enough for the Worlds.
Park wanted to compete but Michael Bohl was opposed to that, and advised him to take a rest.
Eventually, he decided not to compete in the Worlds this year.


Thanks for clearing that up!

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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