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Hwang Sun-woo wins bronze in 200m freestyle at swimming worlds

July 25, 2023 - 20:31 By Yonhap
Hwang Sun-woo of South Korea leaves the pool after finishing the semifinals for the men's 200-meter freestyle at the World Aquatics Championships at Marine Messe Fukuoka Hall A in Fukuoka, Japan, on Monday. (Yonhap)

FUKUOKA, Japan -- South Korean Hwang Sun-woo captured the bronze medal in the men's 200-meter freestyle at the world championships in Japan on Tuesday, breaking his own national record in the process.

Hwang touched the pad in the new national record time of 1:44.42 for his second straight medal at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka.

Hwang, 20, won silver behind Popovici at last year's world championships in Budapest.

Hwang is the first South Korean to win a medal at back-to-back world swimming championships. He also joins Park Tae-hwan, a three-time medalist, as the only South Korean swimmers with multiple world championships medals.

Hwang held the previous national record with 1:44.47, set in winning the silver medal last year.

Matthew Richards of Britain won the gold medal in 1:44.30, and his countryman, Tom Dean, took the silver in 1:44.32.

Popovici was in first place through the first 150m but lost his lead over the home stretch before ending in fourth place at 1:44.90.

Hwang briefly moved into the lead before Richards kicked into a higher gear to touch the pad first.

Hwang had the second-fastest reaction time off the blocks at 0.63 second and found himself in second place at the 50m mark behind Popovici. Hwang dropped to third at the halfway point but moved back up to second place with 50m to go.

As Popovici began to lose steam, it opened the door for his rivals. Hwang couldn't quite crash through it and took home the bronze medal.

One other South Korean in the final, Lee Ho-joon, finished sixth in 1:46.04. Hwang and Lee were the first pair of South Korean teammates to race in the same final at a world swimming championships. (Yonhap)