After winning one bronze medal and breaking eight Korean records at the Fukuoka 2023 World Aquatics Championships, the Korean Swimming Management Team is back home.
Hwang Sun-woo (20-Gangwon Provincial Office) and 21 other athletes returned home from a hot summer in Fukuoka via Incheon International Airport on Wednesday afternoon.
The Fukuoka World Championships were held from the 14th to the 30th, with the management events taking place on the 23rd.
One of the most prominent performers was Hwang Sun-woo.
Hwang finished third in the men’s 200-meter freestyle in a new Korean record of 1:44.42. After winning a silver medal in Budapest last year in 1:44.47, Hwang stood on the podium again this time around.
Hwang’s back-to-back medals at the World Aquatics Championships is a “first for South Korea,” a record not even achieved by the “original Marine Boy” Park Tae-hwan.
Park won gold in the 400-meter freestyle and bronze in the 200-meter freestyle in Melbourne in 2007, and after a bronze medal in Rome in 2009, he redeemed himself by winning gold in the 400-meter freestyle in Shanghai in 2011.
Following in the footsteps of Park Tae-hwan, Hwang became the first South Korean swimmer to reach the podium at two consecutive World Championships.
He also became only the second South Korean athlete in history to win more than one World Championship medal, joining Park Tae-hwan.
Hwang wasn’t the only Korean athlete to make their way to the center of the world.
Lee Ho-joon (22-Daegu Metropolitan Government) joined Hwang in the men’s 200-meter freestyle final, finishing sixth (1:46.04).
Kim Woo-min (21-Gangwon Metropolitan Government) broke his own personal record in the men’s 400-meter freestyle in both the prelims (3:44.50) and final (3:43.92) to move into the top five in the world.
Kim, who finished sixth in 3:45.64 at Budapest last year, improved his time by 1.72 seconds in less than a year and moved up one spot to fifth on his World Championships personal best list.
Kim won the men’s 800-meter freestyle in 7:47.69, 2.24 seconds better than the previous South Korean record of 7:49.93 set by Park Tae-hwan at the London Olympics in August 2012.
In the men’s 100-meter breaststroke, Choi Dong-yeol (24-Gangwon Provincial Office) set a new Korean record of 59.59.
South Korean swimming fans cheered the emergence of Hwang and the “golden generation.
Hwang, Lee Ho-joon and Kim Woo-min, along with Yang Jae-hoon (25-Gangwon Provincial Office), finished sixth in the men’s 800-meter freestyle relay, breaking the Korean record in both the preliminaries (7:06.82) and finals (7:04.07).
Despite missing out on the final, the Korean record in the 400-meter medley relay (3:27.99) set by Ji Yoo-chan (20-Daegu Metropolitan City), Yang Jae-hoon, 먹튀검증 Heo Yeon-kyung (17-Bangsan) and Jung So-eun (27-Ulsan), and the Korean record in the 400-meter freestyle relay (3:47.09) set by Lee Eun-ji (17-Bangsan), Choi Dong-yeol (24-Gangwon Provincial Office), Kim Young-beom (17-Gangwon Chegyo) and Heo Yeon-kyung were also a testament to the growth of Korean swimming.
Hwang Sun-woo set a new Korean record of 3:34.25 in the men’s 400-meter medley relay with Lee Ju-ho (28-Seogwipo City Hall), Choi Dong-yeol and Kim Young-beom on the final day of competition.
After a short break, the Korean swimming team will begin intense training for the Hangzhou Asian Games in September.
In Hangzhou, Korea Swimming will attempt to surpass its best medal haul at an Asian Games since Guangzhou 2010 (four gold, three silver and six bronze).