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Swim Phenom Park to Appear in Dong-A Contest

Posted April. 19, 2007 03:58,   


“Come and see Park Tae-hwan (18, Kyunggi High School), the world star!”

Park Tae-hwan, the first Asian to win a gold medal in the men’s 400-meter freestyle event at the 12th FINA World Swimming Championships held in Melbourne, Australia, will take part in the 79th Dong-A Swimming Contest, which is scheduled for five days starting from April 19 at Ulsan Munsu Indoor Swimming Pool. As he is in the middle of a moderate training cycle to restore his stamina, he will not participate in individual swim events. However, for the prestige of his school, he will join the relay events. On April 20 he will swim in the men`s 4x100m freestyle race, followed by the 4x200m freestyle on the 21st and the 4x100m medley relay on the 23rd.

Taking part in three events-

In the same tournament last year, Park was the first swimmer of his school in the finals of the men’s high school 4x100m freestyle event. He broke the tournament record in the 100 meters of 52.66 seconds, unbroken for 13 years, with a time of 50.97. Thanks to the performance of Park, Kyunggi High School won the event with a new tournament record of 3:35:38. The school also took the title for the 4x200m freestyle event, setting a new record of 7:43:10, thanks to Park.

Park first swam in the Dong-A Contest in 2001 when he was a 12-year-old elementary school student. He won the gold medal in the men’s 100m event then. In 2005, when he was in his first year at Kyunggi High School, he took part in the 200m and 400m freestyle events, broke Korean records in both events, and won the MVP title of the tournament, attracting much public attention.

Since its establishment in 1929, the Dong-A Swimming Contest is a living history center of Korean swimming. Top Korean swim stars such as Cho Oh-ryeon, Choi Yoon-hee, Ji Sang-joon, Ryu Yoon-ji, and Park Tae-hwan have all participated in this tournament.

A delivery room of Korean swimming stars-

The tournament is the opener of this year’s swim season in Korea. In 224 events that include swimming, synchronized swimming, and water polo, 1,187 athletes will compete on six levels—infancy, elementary, middle school, high school, college, and adults.

Choi Hye-ra (Seoul Physical Education High School) and Jeong Seul-ki (Yonsei University), silver medalists at the Doha Asian Games, are scheduled to show up. Kang Yong-hwan (22, Gangwon Province), the second-ranked freestyle middle- and long-distance swimmer in Korea, is also expected to participate in the 400m and 1,500m freestyle events. Kang was expelled from national team in January after joining Park Tae-hwan’s personal training camp to be his training partner.