Kim Woo-min (22, Gangwon Provincial Office) beat Lee Ho-joon (22, Daegu Metropolitan Government) in the 200-meter freestyle at the 2024 Swimming (Management) National Selection Trials for the International Swimming Federation’s World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, next February.
Kim finished second in the men’s 200-meter freestyle final with a time of 1:46.06 on Sunday at the Gimcheon Indoor Pool in Gimcheon, North Gyeongsang Province. He touched the wall behind Hwang Sun-woo (20-Gangwon Provincial Office), who won in 1:45.68.
Third place went to Lee Ho-joon in 1:46.07, 0.01 seconds behind Kim Woo-min.
Kim, who specializes in the middle and long distances, beat Lee, who was a finalist in the 200-meter freestyle at the Fukuoka World Championships in July.
Speaking after the race, Kim said, “I’m really happy to get a personal best in the 200m freestyle. It was a good result for a meet where I wasn’t in my best condition. I’m also happy and excited to finish second.”
Hwang Sun-woo, Kim Woo-min, and Lee Ho-joon all broke the International Swimming Federation A record in the 200-meter freestyle (1:47.06), but only the top two finishers from each country qualify for the World Championships, so only Hwang and Kim qualified for the 200-meter freestyle on their own.
The problem is that it will be difficult for Kim to swim the 200m freestyle at the Doha World Championships.
On the first day of competition, he will compete in the men’s 400-meter freestyle preliminaries on the 11th, followed by the 400-meter freestyle final and 200-meter freestyle preliminaries on the 12th.
On the 13th, the 200-meter freestyle semifinals and 800-meter freestyle preliminaries, followed by the 200-meter freestyle final on the 14th.
Then it’s on to the 800-meter freestyle final on the 25th, the 800-meter freestyle relay heats on the 26th, and the 800-meter final on the 17th.
If Kim Woo-min competes in the 200-meter freestyle, which is not his “main event,” he will have to compete for a whole week without a day off.
That’s something he’s been thinking about.
While he is happy to have qualified second, he knows he needs to make a choice and focus.
“We’ll have to wait and see, but my main events are the 400-meter freestyle and 800-meter freestyle. There’s also the 800-meter freestyle relay,” he said, “I’m thinking I should focus on my main events. I haven’t decided yet.”
If Kim withdraws from the 200-meter freestyle at the World Championships, the spot will go to third-place finisher Lee Ho-joon, who met the International Swimming Federation’s A time.
Kim also did not compete in the 1,500-meter freestyle at the Games to focus on his main event.
His goal is to win a medal in Paris by focusing on ‘doing well’ with all his might.
“Next year’s Paris Olympics is my final goal. And the 400-meter freestyle is where I need to show the best results. Since I gave up the 1,500 meters, I will focus on the 400 meters.”
But he still has a soft spot for the 1,500-meter freestyle.
Kim is still the unrivaled Korean leader in the 1,500-meter freestyle.
At the Hangzhou Asian Games, he won a triple gold medal in the 400 and 800 meters freestyle and 800 meters freestyle relay, and a silver in the 1,500 meters freestyle.
“I’ll try again after the Paris Olympics,” Kim said.
Even more focused than his individual events is the 800-meter freestyle relay, which has made the leap to the world level.
His time of 7:01.73, which he clocked when winning gold at the Hangzhou Asian Games, is an Asian record.
That time was good for a silver medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and a bronze at this year’s World Championships in Fukuoka.
“If we can unite with the athletes and show a good performance, I think we will be a strong enough team for the World Championships and eventually the Olympics,” said Kim Woo-min.
If they make it into the ‘dream six’ and get a little lucky, they could even go for gold.
Great Britain, the current favorites in the men’s 800-meter freestyle relay, won gold in 6:58.58 at the Tokyo Olympics and 6:59.08 at the Fukuoka World Championships.
“It’s possible because each athlete has excellent individual performance and is on the rise,” said Kim Woo-min, who is determined to break into the top six. “If we can break into the top six, we can aim for the dream moment of an Olympic medal.” 먹튀검증