Swimmer Hwang Sun-woo chases historic medal at worlds in Doha

South Korean swimmer Hwang Sun-woo will begin his pursuit of a historic medal at the world championships this week in Qatar.

Hwang will enter the heats for the men’s 200-meter freestyle at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha on Monday. The heats are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. (local time), or 3:30 p.m. (South Korean time).

The top 16 swimmers from the heats will reach the semifinals, set for 7 p.m. Monday in Doha, or 1 a.m. Tuesday in Seoul.

From there, the top eight swimmers will compete for medals in the final, which will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday (local time), or 1 a.m. Wednesday (Seoul time).

Hwang will try to become the first South Korean swimmer to win a medal at three consecutive world championships.

He is the first and, so far, only South Korean to grab a medal at back-to-back world championships. Hwang won silver in the 200m freestyle at the 2022 worlds in Budapest and followed that up with a bronze in Fukuoka, Japan, last summer.

The path to the top of the podium appears clear for Hwa
ng, as the reigning gold and silver medalists in the 200m freestyle, Matthew Richards and Tom Dean of Britain, respectively, are both skipping the event to focus on other races.

Hwang has the fastest entry time — a swimmer’s best record set between Oct. 1, 2022, and Dec. 19, 2023 — among all participating athletes in the 200m freestyle, with 1:44.40. It’s the South Korean national record Hwang set while winning a gold medal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, in September.

Next up is Lukas Martens of Germany with 1:44.79.

The 200m free is the first of four races Hwang is set to enter in Doha. He will also compete in the 100m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle relay and the 4x100m medley relay.

After completing a four-week training camp in Australia with his teammates earlier this month, Hwang told reporters that he was “a little surprised” that Richards and Dean won’t compete.

“Obviously, since I have the fastest entry time, I want to go get the gold medal,” Hwang said on Feb. 3. “If I’d been second or thi
rd in the entry time, then I would have given myself a target to chase down. But now I’ll have to keep an eye on other swimmers trying to catch me, and so there’s more pressure. But I’ve been doing well so far, and I want to keep that up.”

Source: Yonhap News Agency