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`Swimmer Park Needs to Reconsider His Core Events`

Posted August. 03, 2009 01:20,   


Swimming sensation Park Tae-hwan’s disappointing performance at this year’s world championships in Rome should make him reassess his priority events, experts said yesterday.

The 2007 world and Beijing Olympics champion of the 400-meter freestyle has failed to advance to the finals of both the 200- and 400-meter freestyle in this year’s World Championships. He will compete in the 1,500-meter freestyle tomorrow.

Each of the three events needs tailored training. The 200 meters mainly needs anaerobic training to boost speed and should be complemented by aerobic exercise to increase endurance. The 1,500 meters needs higher endurance and the 400 meters both speed and endurance.

Park disproportionately focused on the 1,500 meters when training in Southern California, as shown in his performance at the Janet Evans Invitational in late May.

He finished with a time of 1:47.43 in the 200 meters, falling short of his personal best of 1:44.85. In the 400 meters, he fell 10 seconds short of his personal best of 3:41:86.

In the 1,500 meter, however, Park nearly matched his best of 14:55:03 with a time of 14:57:06. This shows lack of speed is behind his failure to qualify for the 200 and 400 meters finals in the Rome tournament.

Paul Biedermann of Germany, who set world records in winning the 200 and 400 meters in this year’s championships, does not compete in the 1,500 meters. Eight-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps of the U.S. competes in the 200 and 400 meters only.

Park, however, competes in the 200, 400 and 1,500 meters, and this is likened to a sprinter running a marathon.

Experts say he must carefully choose among the three events to concentrate his energy. He earned Korea’s first Olympic gold in the 400 meters and the silver in the 200 meters in Beijing last year. Given that Park has won the 400 meters several times abroad, experts say he should choose between the 200 and 1,500 meters.

The 400 meters needs both endurance and speed. In Beijing, he won the silver in the 200 meters because both his speed and endurance were at their peak. If he can sufficiently raise his endurance, Park could take on the 1,500 meters.

Experts also say that after deciding on his main events, Park needs a long-term plan to prepare for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.