South Korea’s Woo Min Kim won gold in the men’s 400-meter freestyle at the Doha World Championships today (Dec. 12). Kim clocked 3:42.71 in the 400m freestyle final, beating his personal best of 3:43.92 by 1.21 seconds.
“It was the target time I expected, and if he can improve his fitness in the second half of the race, he will do even better in Paris,” said Kim’s coach, Jeon Jeon-hyun.
Given the rate at which he’s improving, it’s not out of the question that he could improve his time and win a medal in Paris.
Hwang Sun-woo and Kim Woo-min have been performing well enough to be called the golden generation of Korean swimming.
“The overall performance of the golden generation has improved because the swimmers are competing in relays centered on Hwang Sun-woo,” says Jeon. “They have changed a lot from the way they came into training. They have a lot of desire in each event and the atmosphere is really good,” he said.
The support of the swimming federation has also played a role. The federation sent 38 athletes to the 2022 World Championships in Budapest, the most ever for a World Championships held overseas. Half of those 38 athletes, 19, were making their first World Championships appearance.
We have sent a similar number of athletes to subsequent World Championships and have been active in sending athletes to other international events such as the World Cup and Short Course World Championships. It was an opportunity for athletes to gain international experience.
It’s a far cry from the days when the sport relied on a single prodigy, Park Tae-hwan. Park used to organize flyer teams with corporate sponsorship and train individually.
In contrast, after Hwang’s emergence, the Korean Swimming Federation chose to focus on developing the national relay team directly. The federation has organized three 토토 training camps in Australia with Hwang, Kim, Woo-min and other promising athletes. The result was the men’s 800-meter freestyle relay title at last year’s Hangzhou Asian Games, the first team gold medal in the history of the sport.
There was also special support from the federation, which was different this time. They paid more attention to the players’ jet lag.
“Usually, we left the country three days before the tournament, so the players had trouble adjusting to the time difference. But this time, we left five days before the tournament. It definitely made it easier for the players to adjust to the time difference and their physical condition was better.”
With Hwang’s inspiration for other swimmers and the support of the federation, Korean swimming is enjoying an unprecedented renaissance.