World Championships Medalist Hwang Sunwoo Posts 1:44.67 200 Free


  • October 8th – October 13th
  • Ulsan, South Korea
  • LCM (50m)
  • Results

The reigning World Championships silver medalist in the men’s 200m free, Hwang Sunwoo of Korea, has put up some super solid early-season times at his nation’s Sports Festival.

Racing in Ulsan the past few days, Hwang logged impressive outings in the 200m free and as a member of a record-breaking 4x100m free relay with 3 more days of competition remaining.

First, in the individual free, the Olympic finalist posted a winning effort of 1:44.67 to top the podium.

Hwang established himself as the top-seeded swimmer of the morning heats with a mark of 1:46.93 before dropping more than 2 seconds to beat the field easily. The next closest swimmer was Hojun Lee who touched in 1:46.99 for silver.

This summer in Budapest, Hwang posted a time of 1:44.47 to snag silver behind winner David Popovici of Romania. Popovici scored the gold in a massive 1:43.21, however, Hwang’s effort did check in as a new national record.

As such, Hwang’s time in Ulsan falls just .20 outside his best-ever. It also checked in as a new meet record, overtaking Olympian Park Tae Hwan‘s previous mark of 1:45.01 put on the books in 2016.

But Hwang also produced a split for his nation’s 4x100m freestyle relay to help them earn a new national record. Cheon Hohyun (49.81), Yang Jaehoon (48.63), Kim Woomin (49.12) comprised the first 3 legs of the squad before Hwang dove in a put up a split of 47.83.

Collectively, the foursome ultimately clocked a time of 3:15.39 for their Gangwon Provincial Office team, taking the gold and establishing a new national standard in the process.

Hwang still has the 100m freestyle and 400m medley relay yet to race at this Festival.

Additional Notes

  • Kim Woomin was impressive in the men’s 1500m freestyle, taking the gold in a time of 14:54.25. Kim beat the field by over 30 seconds en route to logging his first-ever outing under the 15:00 threshold. Entering this meet the man had been as fast as 15:08.50 from this year’s World Championships. For perspective, Kim’s new 14:54.25 PB would have placed 8th in Budapest this summer. With his result here, Kim is now approaching the realm of Park’s national record which stands at the 14:47.38 he produced in 2012.
  • Jihoon Kim posted a new Korean national record in the men’s 50m butterfly. His winning effort of 23.69 sliced .02 off of the longstanding standard of 23.71 established in 2014.

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1 year ago

Woomin Kim was also a 3:45 in the 400 at Worlds where he was 15:08 in the mile. Has the 400 been swum already?

1 year ago

Great swim, these boys are fast!!!

Awsi Dooger
1 year ago

Not surprising. I thought he underachieved last year, despite the silver medal at 200. His stroke didn’t look right, not as powerful as Tokyo. Maybe they were tinkering. It was ridiculous for him to miss the semifinals of the 100. Then he got a reprieve when Dressel pulled out. Hwang was the beneficiary of that, although not many remember because of all the commotion regarding Dressel. Hwang swam another lackluster 100 and missed the final.

Reply to  Awsi Dooger
1 year ago

He just went 47.78 in the 100free…the first sub 48s this year

1 year ago

This shows how much popovici has changed the game. This is an absurd swim. He’s 19 or 20 years old and he’s going 1:44 (A time that would have won world championships just a few years ago) midseason. And yet we aren’t going crazy bc somehow this is now precedented. Amazing from both swimmers

Reply to  abcde
1 year ago

To be fair, it was precedented before Popovici too. The promising part, though, is that now it appears we have two fairly brand new swimmers to the senior international scene that can go sub 1:45…and they’re young. The future of the international 200 free game looks strong.

Last edited 1 year ago by swimfast
Reply to  swimfast
1 year ago

We talked about this on the podcast – it seemed like 10 years ago we were already in “1:44 becoming a regular thing, 1:43 being special” territory, but the event sort of regressed to the point where 1:44s are now special again.

I think it’s clearly on the upswing, but it’s fascinating how our expectations shifted backward in this race.

Reminder: only 37.7% of SS voters thought there would be even a 1:43 in the 200 free in 2022.

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

This trend triggered the swim nerd in me, so I did some digging. In 2011, 6 different swimmers hit 1:44. That number dropped to 3 the next year, and by 2014 no one dipped under 1:45. Over the 5 seasons spanning 2014-2018 Sun Yang was the only swimmer to go 1:44. 2019 alone saw 4 different swimmers hit the mark. In 2021, a whopping 8 swimmers went 1:44. I’d say the event has absolutely exploded after nearly a decade of being way too slow

Reply to  Swammer
1 year ago

Yup the “year of JEAH” and his 1:44.44, part of the 200/400 IM, 200 Back, 200 Free, 4×200 Gold sweep. Lochte truly was the last person to win 4 events exclusively over 200. Last to win four events exclusively over 100m as well? Katinka had three in 2016 is the closest I can think at either worlds/olympics. Even Phelps never won 4 after 2008. Will have to check after work. The era of the specialist have made multiple medals in non-50s nearly impossible. Glad to have watched the two most talented swimmers ever in their prime.

1 year ago

I hope he continues to improve, would love to see him really challenge the Romanian and make it a titan clash

1 year ago

I hate to burst any bubbles, but I really would bet my future house on Popovici never losing this event internationally going forward. I think we do, though, have a pretty certain 1-2 in them. Their youth makes it all the more promising

Last edited 1 year ago by swimfast
1 year ago

Is that the fastest time ever IN South Korea? Not the NR but on South Korean soil?

Reply to  PFA
1 year ago

I couldn’t find any publication of proper “Korean Open” records, but USA Swimming’s all-time top 25 list goes to 1:44.47, and none of those were done in South Korea.

Nobody was faster at the 2019 World Championships, the 2014 Asian Games, or the 2002 Asian Games. Prior to 2001, the World Record was slower than 1:44.67. Park Tae Hwan’s best was 1:44.90.

So I’d say with 98% confidence that yes, it’s the fastest time on Korean soil.

1 year ago

damn that’s actually a really fast time

M Palota
1 year ago

Holy smokes, these kids are fast!

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Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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