‘Asia’s strongest freestyle middle and long-distance swimmer’ Kim Woo-min (22, Gangwon Provincial Office) has qualified for the 400-meter freestyle at the Doha 2024 World Aquatics Championships.
Kim touched the touch pad in 3 minutes, 45.26 seconds to win the men’s 400-meter freestyle final at the 2024 Swimming Management National Selection Tournament at the Gimcheon Indoor Pool in Gimcheon, North Gyeongsang Province, on Monday.
Although he fell short of his personal best of 3:43.92, he passed the International Swimming Federation (FINA) A record of 3:48.15 with ease, securing his place at the Doha World Championships in February next year.
Second-place finisher Lee Ho-joon (22, Daegu City Hall) fell just short of the A mark in 3:48.81 and will not qualify for Doha.
At the trials, Kim broke the FINA A record in three individual events.
Kim took first place in the 800-meter freestyle with a time of 7:52.84, bettering the FINA A record of 7:53.11.
He finished second in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:46.06, behind Hwang Sun-woo (20-Gangwon Provincial Office), who won in 1:45.68. The FINA A record in the 200-meter freestyle is 1:47.06.
He will qualify for the World Championships in Doha next February if he breaks the FINA A record at the trials and finishes in the top two in his event.
The first-place finishers in each event who do not exceed the FINA A record and pass the Korean Swimming Federation (KSF) standard time will be reviewed by the Performance Improvement Committee to determine if they will compete at the World Championships.
Kim finished in the top two in three events, the 400m, 800m and 200m freestyle, with an A time.
However, he may have to give up his spot at the Doha World Championships to Lee Ho-joon, who finished third (1:46.07) in the 200 freestyle after breaking the A mark and focusing on his main events, the 400 and 800 meters.
“It feels good to finish the season well by passing the A record in the 200-400-800-meter freestyle at this trials,” Kim said after the 28th, via his management company, All That Sports. “I will try to win medals at the Doha 2024 World Championships and the Paris Olympics based on my racing experience so far,” he added.
Kim won three gold medals at the Hangzhou Asian Games in the 400m and 800m freestyle and the men’s 800m freestyle relay.
Having established himself as Asia’s top freestyle swimmer in the middle and long distances, Kim will be looking to ‘break into the center of the world’ at the Doha World Championships.
At last year’s World Championships in Fukuoka, Kim finished fifth in the 400-meter freestyle and 14th in the 800-meter freestyle.
The 400-meter freestyle is the event that Kim Woo-min is targeting for medals at both the Doha 2024 World Championships and the Paris Olympics.
As the men’s freestyle powerhouses consider skipping the Doha World Championships to focus on the Paris Olympics, Kim Woo-min’s chances of winning a World Championships medal in the 400m freestyle are looking increasingly likely.
Ji Yoo-chan (21-Daegu City Hall) won the men’s 50-meter freestyle final in 22.15 seconds, ahead of Hwang Sun-woo (22.43).
Ji won the title at the Hangzhou Asian Games in a new Korean record time of 21.72, and he also topped the 2024 trials, cementing his status as Korea’s top 50-meter freestyle swimmer.
However, his time was 0.03 seconds slower than the International Swimming Federation A record of 22.12.
He passed the KSF standard of 22.45 seconds by a wide margin and was considered for the World Championships by the Performance Enhancement Committee.
In the men’s 200-meter breaststroke, Lee Sang-hoon (Gangwon-do) took the top spot in 2:11.57, beating Choi Dong-yeol (Gangwon-do), who finished in 2:12.72.
In the men’s 400-meter individual medley, Kim Min-seop (Dokdo Sports) took first place in 4:18.20.
Lee Sang-hoon and Kim Min-seop were unable to break the FINA A records (men’s 200m breaststroke 2:10.32, 400m individual medley 4:17.48) but passed the KSF standards (men’s 200m breaststroke 2:12.27, 400m individual medley 4:21.34).
At the national selection trials held from 23-28 July, Kim Woo-min (men’s 200-400-800m freestyle), Hwang Sun-woo (200m freestyle), Lee Ju-ho (100-200m backstroke), Baek In-cheol (50m butterfly), Yoon Ji-hwan (50m backstroke) and Kim Seo-young (women’s 200m individual medley) finished first and second in their respective events, qualifying for the Doha World Championships.
Korean businessman Hwang Sun-woo will also be competing at the World Championships in Doha in the 100-meter freestyle, where he broke the KSF record.
“2023 was a very meaningful year for me as I reached the podium at both the World Championships and Asian Games,” said Hwang. “I will continue to train hard for the rest of the year, utilizing the know-how I gained from both events, and hope to have a good race at the World Championships and Olympic Games in 2024.” 토토