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