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Park Tae-hwan Takes the 400m Freestyle Gold in Stockholm

Park Tae-hwan Takes the 400m Freestyle Gold in Stockholm

Posted November. 15, 2007 03:58,   


Park Tae-hwan Loses His Goggles In the 400m World Cup

It’s rare, but it happens. Swimmers lose their goggles during competitions. During the start, swimmers duck their head to avoid this. But in the heat of the competition, driven by the passion to excel, sometimes obvious fundamentals can be overlooked.

Korea’s golden child Park Tae-hwan (18, Gyeonggi High School) learned this the hard way. But in spite of his handicap, he won the competition.

On November 14, during the 400m freestyle finals of the FIFA Swimming World Cup held at Eriksdale swimming complex, Stockholm, Sweden, coach Park Suk-ki couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw his swimmer stripped of his goggles. But there was Park Tae-hwan, finishing 1st in 3 minutes and 42.14 seconds with bloodshot eyes.

Coach Park defended him by saying, “He must have not gotten used to the new goggles he bought in Sweden.” But we all know better.

With Paul Wiedermann (Germany) who came in 2nd during the preliminaries stepping out of the competition, one would expect Park to take it easy, but he set a record with a start of 0.67 seconds and leaped into 1st place. Nicholas Sprenger (25, Australia, 3 minutes 44 seconds) came in 2nd, while Mads Glaesner (21, Denmark, 3 minutes 45 seconds) came in 3rd. Park was aiming for a new record as everyone knew there would be no upsets for this competition, but the sudden turn of events involving his goggles resulted in him coming in 2 seconds shy of his previous record of 3 minutes 39.99 seconds set during his 400m short course competition in Sydney, Australia on November 2.

Coach Park said “The World Cup is more training than competition for Park. We’re not aiming for medals but setting new records.”

With Wiedermann out, Park Tae-hwan’s training partner Park Young-ho (Seoul Physical Education High School) who came in at 9th place during the preliminaries was able to participate in the finals, but came in 8th at 3 minutes 57 seconds.