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Park’s Propellers Reversed a Seven-Meter Lead

Posted April. 24, 2007 03:02,   


“It’s amazing. There was a 6-7 meter gap, so I thought he wouldn’t be able to catch up.”

On April 23, the last day of the 79th Dong-A Swimming Competition, onlookers marveled at Park Tae-hwan’s (18, Kyunggi High School) last minute spurt.

Park Ties Record in 100m Freestyle-

Park participated in the men’s high school 400-meter medley relay final (where four swimmers swim for 100 meters each in backstroke-breaststroke-butterfly-freestyle order) as the last swimmer for his team, and led a come-from-behind victory while unofficially tying an Asian record. Kyunggi High School had been timed at 3:06:40 until the 300m point, which was 3:11 seconds behind Seoul Physical Education High School (3:03:29). Kim Dong-gwon, director of the Korea Swimming Federation, said, “To catch up to first place in the freestyle with that much distance is virtually impossible.”

But Park Tae-hwan was different. Even up until the 50m turn, he was more than 2 seconds behind Seoul Physical Education High School’s Won Dong-hyun, but Park’s strong finish was amazing. He took the lead just 1-2m ahead of the finish line, and was the first hand to reach the touch pad. Kyunggi High School won with a new competition record of 3:55:46, just 0.03 seconds ahead of the runner-up.

Park Tae-hwan’s 100m free-style record was 49:06:00, which ties the Asian record that Chen Zuo (China) made at the Doha Asia Games in Qatar last year, and is also 0.56 seconds faster than the Korean record that Park made at the games (50:02:00, silver medal). But in the medley relay, the only record that is recognized is that of the starting swimmer doing the backstroke.

When Park was told that he had tied the Asian record, his reaction was surprise: “Really?” Then he added, “I was in good condition today so that’s why I think I was able to have a good time. Now I will concentrate on my long-distance freestyle training for the pre-Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, in August and the Beijing Olympics in China next year.”

The Dong-A Swimming Competition came to a close on this day with 42 new competition records, but no Korean records were broken.

Ahn Chang-nam, a KBS sports commentator, said, “Park Tae-hwan, who became a star at the Dong-A Swimming Competition, showed that he is still thriving.” He added, “But it was unfortunate that no Korean records were broken because it has not been long since national swimmers took part in the World Swimming Championships in March.”

At the Dong-A Swimming Competition swim races, the high school category was taken by Seoul Physical Education High School (both men and women); the university category was won by Korea National Sport University (men) and Kyung Sung University (women), while victory in the adults group went to the Korea Armed Forces Athletic Corps (men) and Anyang City Hall (women). Kangwon Physical Education High School and Korea National Sport University were the champions in water polo.