Posted April. 30, 2016 07:20,
Updated April. 30, 2016 07:26
Ahn Se-hyeon (21, 100-meter and 200-meter butterfly), Park Jin-yeong (19, 200-meter butterfly), Kim Seo-yeong (22, 200-meter individual medley swimming), Nam Yoo-seon (31, 200-meter individual medley), and Baek Soo-yeon (25, breaststroke) passed the FINA “A” Olympic qualifying standard that automatically allows them to participate in the Rio event. Notably, Ahn, who enhanced her athletic condition in Australia after giving up the first national qualifying round, set three Korean records to win the MVP award of the event.
Compared with stellar performance in the women’s category, no male swimmers other than Park Tae-hwan (27) passed the “A” standard. Four years ago, a total of 15 athletes, including four males and five females who passed the “A” standard and all of the six people who passed the “B” standard, took part in the Olympic Games. Swimmers who had passed the “B” standards through the first and second qualifying rounds designed to select swimmers for this year’s national team totaled 11 men and six women.
Coach Ahn Jong-taek of the national swimming team said, “The ‘A’ standard directly reflects the current trend of world swimming. This means that Korean swimming is lagging behind the ‘A’ standard records that are getting faster and faster,” adding, “However, overall it is fortunate that promising emerging swimmers and rookie swimmers have seen their performance improve.”
Eleven Korean records and 88 meet records have been made at this year’s championship, outpacing those of last year’s event that only posted 55 meet records overall. Notably, Lee Ho-joon (15), who last year surpassed the 200-meter freestyle record set by Park Tae-hwan during his middle school year, ranked second overall (time of 3:51:52) after Park (3:44:26) in men’s 400-meter freestyle competition, confirming his potential as a next-generation swimmer.
Lee Ui-seop (16) and Cho Hyun-joo (16) who set Korean records in women’s 400-meter freestyle and 800-meter freestyle, respectively, also formed a structure of competition to become a “post-female Park Tae-hwan.”