Kim Woo-min reaches second straight 400m freestyle final at World Championships

Kim punches her ticket to the final with a sixth-place finish in her heat
Kim qualifies in the 200-meter individual medley

Korean swimming’s middle and long-distance standout Kim Woo-min (21, Gangwon Provincial Office) has reached his second consecutive World Aquatics Championships final in the 400-meter freestyle.

Kim touched the touchpad in 3:44.52 in heat six of the men’s 400-meter freestyle preliminaries at the 2023 Fukuoka International Swimming Federation World Championships at Fukuoka Marine Messe Fukuoka Hall in Fukuoka, Japan, on Wednesday.

Kim was in peak form on the day as he broke his personal best. His time of 3:45.59 was 1.07 seconds better than his time at the World Championships-Asian Games Trials in March this year.

Kim finished third in his heat and sixth overall, punching his ticket to the final, which is reserved for the top eight qualifiers.

Kim also qualified for the final at last year’s World Championships in Budapest, finishing sixth in his heat.

In the 400-meter freestyle final, which begins at 8:02 p.m., Kim will attempt to become the first Korean to medal in the event in 12 years. Park won gold in the 400m freestyle at the 2007 Melbourne and 2011 Shanghai Games.

If Kim wins a medal in the final, she will become the third South Korean athlete to win a World Championship medal, joining Park Tae-hwan and Hwang Sun-woo (silver in the 200m freestyle at Budapest 2022).

Kim Seo-young (29, North Gyeongsang Province), the captain of the Korean business team, got off to a great start in her quest to reach her fourth consecutive World Championships final in the women’s 200m individual medley.

Kim clocked a time of 2:11.50 in heat three of the women’s business administration 200m individual medley earlier in the day.

Kim finished fourth in her heat and 14th overall to advance to the semifinals, which featured the top 16 qualifiers out of 34 swimmers.

Kim’s time was 0.19 seconds faster than her current personal best of 2:11.69 set at the Gwangju National Championships last month.

Her personal best is 2:08.34, a South Korean record set when she won gold at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang.

Kim has reached the final of this event three times in a row, in Budapest 2017, Gwangju 2019 and Budapest 2022. She is the only South Korean swimmer to reach three consecutive World Championship finals in a single individual event.

If she finishes in the top eight in today’s 9:01 p.m. semifinal, she will extend that record to four. Kim has finished sixth in each of her three previous 200m individual medley finals.

In the men’s 100-meter breaststroke, Choi Dong-yeol clocked 59.94 in heat seven. Fifth in his heat and 12th out of 68 swimmers, Choi earned a spot in the semifinals against the top 16 qualifiers.

In her first World Championships appearance, Choi reached the semifinals in the 50-meter breaststroke in Budapest last year.

South Korean women’s middle and long-distance runner Handa Kyung (Jeollanam-do Athletic Association) finished 18th out of 41 swimmers in the women’s 400m freestyle heats with a time of 4:11.08, missing out on the top eight finals. Her time was 0.19 seconds behind her personal best (4:10.89) set at last year’s national trials.

Baek In-chul (Busan Jung-gu Office), who competed in the men’s 50-meter butterfly, tied his own Korean record in the preliminaries with a time of 23.50 seconds, but was unable to advance to the semifinals after finishing 23rd out of 89 swimmers.

Park Soo-jin (Gyeongbuk Provincial Office) finished 28th in the women’s 100-meter butterfly preliminaries with a time of 1:00.20, failing to qualify for the top 16 semifinals.

Kim Min-seok (Busan Swimming Federation), who competed in the men’s 400-meter individual medley, finished 21st in his heat with a time of 4:22.17, failing to qualify for the top eight finals.

In the men’s 400-meter medley relay, Lee Ho-joon, Ji Yoo-chan (Daegu Metropolitan Government), Yang Jae-hoon (Gangwon Province), and Kim Ji-hoon (Daejeon Metropolitan Sports Federation) swam a time of 3:16.15. Their 17th-place finish in the preliminaries prevented them from qualifying for the final, 고스톱 which features the top eight nations.

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