South Korean Teen Sensation Hwang Sunwoo Hits 1:41.17 200 Free in Doha

Thursday, October 21st – Saturday, October 23rd
Hamad Aquatic Center, Doha, Qatar
Prelims: 10 am local / 3 am ET
Finals: 6 pm local / 11 am ET
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South Korean swimmer Hwang Sunwoo swam a 1:41.17 SCM 200 free to win the event at the Doha stop of the FINA World Cup circuit.

Hwang defeated world junior record holder Matt Sates to take the gold. Sates had won the 200 free at both previous World Cup stops in Budapest and Berlin. Both swimmers are 18, and Hwang’s major 200 freestyle experience is in long course, including at the Tokyo Olympics and at the Korean National Trials. He currently holds the long course world junior record in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:44.62.

Hwang went 1:45.68 in prelims, then split 23.76/25.91/25.97/25.53 in the final. Sates, at the Doha meet, swam the event in 1:41.33. His best time is 1:40.65, which was set at the Berlin stop. Sates split that event at 23.58/25.93/25.63/25.51.

Hwang’s swim ties him with 2018 world silver medalist Danas Rapsys — who finished third on Saturday (1:42.26) — as the No. 3 performer in the world this year.

Hwang not only denied Sates his third-straight gold, but he also almost broke the South Korean national record. That record is currently held by Park Tae-Hwan at 1:41.03, set in 2016. During that race, Park split the event at 23.56/25.70/26.24/25.53. Hwang had a better back-half of the 200 than Park did, but Park’s faster first 100 splits kept Hwang from breaking the record.

Park was a versatile swimmer in every freestyle event ranging from the 100 to the 1500. He won one Olympic gold and three Olympic silvers in the 200 and 400 freestyle over the course of his career.

While Hwang just missed Park’s record, he didn’t go home empty-handed, records-wise, from the Doha meet. Hwang broke the South Korean 100 free record, also previously held by Park, with a time of 46.46. Park’s previous record was 46.89.

Earlier this month, the teen sensation Hwang also downed Park’s long course 200 IM national record by over two seconds, going 1:58.04 at the Korean National Sports Festival. Shortly after, SwimSwam dubbed him one of the “stealthy six” teen men who could disrupt the 2024 Paris Olympics. 

The final leg of the World Cup circuit will be held in Kazan, Russia, from October 28 to October 30.

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