Kim Woo-min finishes 5th in 400m freestyle at World Championships

South Korean middle and long-distance standout Kim Woo-min (22, Gangwon Provincial Office) earned a “top five” finish at the World Championships.

Kim touched the touch pad in 3:43.92 to finish fifth in the men’s 400-meter freestyle final at the 2023 Fukuoka International Swimming Federation World Championships at Fukuoka Marine Messe Fukuoka Hall in Fukuoka, Japan, on Wednesday. First place went to Australia’s Samuel Short (20-3:40.68), second to Tunisia’s Ahmed Hafnawi (21-3:40.70) and third to Germany’s Lukas Martens (22-3:42.20).

Starting in lane 7, Kim had the fastest reaction time (0.60 seconds) and remained in the top three until midway through the race. Although his speed dropped off from there, he fought back to finish in the sub-3:43s for the first time.

Earlier in the day, Kim finished sixth out of 55 swimmers in the men’s 400-meter freestyle preliminaries with a time of 3:44.52. He broke his own personal best (3:45.59) set at the Gimcheon National Championships in March of this year by more than a second, and then went even faster in the final.

“I feel really honored because I feel like I’m getting closer to Park Tae-hwan’s record, which was my idol,” Kim said. “I’m learning from competing with world-class athletes. I want to get even faster.” The last South Korean to win a medal in the 400-meter freestyle at a World Championships was Park Tae-hwan, 34, who won gold in Shanghai in 2011 with a time of 3:42.04. Park also holds the best 400-meter freestyle time by a South Korean athlete (3:41.53 at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games).

The quality of the men’s 400-meter freestyle at the world championships is unparalleled. Two swimmers finished the race in the 3:40s, close to the world record (3:40.07) set by Germany’s Paul Biedermann, 37, in 2009 in a full-body swimsuit that was dubbed “technical doping. “I don’t feel bad about it at all,” Kim said, “I finished fifth today, but I think it’s actually a good motivation because I think I can do much better if I can cut (my time) even more.”

Kim was the only Asian to make a splash in the final. He also gave his outlook for the upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games in September. Kim is fresh off a convincing gold medal in the men’s 400m freestyle at the Asian Games. Kim, the top-ranked Asian swimmer in the 400-meter freestyle this season, and China’s Fan Zhanle (3:46.40) are separated by more than two seconds. When asked if there were any swimmers he was wary of at the Asian Games, Kim said, “There’s only me.” He was confident.

Kim will also compete in the 800-meter freestyle (Aug. 25), 800-meter freestyle relay (Aug. 28) and 1500-meter freestyle (Aug. 29). The 800-meter freestyle relay is a team event in which four swimmers from a team swim 200 meters of freestyle followed by 200 meters of backstroke to determine the final ranking. “We focused on the 400m freestyle and 800m freestyle relay,” said Kim Woo-min. “I will do my best in the rest of the events, but in the 800-meter freestyle relay, I really want to have a good race with my teammates (Hwang Sun-woo, Lee Ho-joon, and Yang Jae-hoon). All four of us are confident, so I think we will have a good result,” he added. 파워볼사이트

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