“I think if you work hard, the medals will follow. I want to win at least three gold medals.”

Up-and-coming “middle-distance powerhouse” Kim Woo-min (21-Gangwon Provincial Government) looked upward as he flew home from the 2023 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, at Incheon International Airport on Wednesday.

Kim made a name for himself at the World Championships. With a string of record-breaking performances, he raised his profile as a possible successor to Park Tae-hwan.

In the 800-meter freestyle, he broke Park’s previous South Korean record (7:49.93) by 2.24 seconds. The record (7:47.69) was set at the 2012 London Olympics in the 1500-meter freestyle race, measured up to 800 meters. At the time, there was no 800-meter freestyle event at the Olympics, so Park held the Korean record until the International Swimming Federation recognized the 800-meter leg of the 1500-meter race.

He continued to break personal records. In the 400-meter freestyle, he broke his own personal record in both the preliminaries (3:44.50) and final (3:43.92) to move into the top five in the world. Kim, who finished sixth (3:45.64) in Budapest last year, improved her time by 1.72 seconds in one year.

“I prepared well for this meet, and it feels good to finish well,” he told reporters at the airport, adding, “I’ll do better at the Asian Games and next year’s Paris Olympics.”

‘Confidence’ and much more Kim Woo-min said, “I gained a lot of confidence, and I felt a lot of things while watching the athletes compete. I realized what I lacked while watching them. I think I will be able to show a better performance if I improve a little more.”

The Hangzhou Asian Games are about two months away. Kim Woo-min said, “I will prepare sincerely as I always do. I want to do really well at the Asian Games, and I’m just thinking about doing my best,” he said.

He added, “I think medals will follow if I work hard. I would like to win three gold medals,” he said, but at the end, he held up four fingers to show his honesty.

Lee Ho-joon (Daegu Metropolitan Government) was also a standout. He reached the final of the 200m freestyle alongside Hwang Sun-woo. It was the first time in the history of Korean men’s swimming that two swimmers were in the final of a single event at the same time. They set a new milestone. 안전놀이터

The Korean medley relay team also set a new record in the 800 meters. The team of Hwang Sun-woo, Kim Woo-min, Lee Ho-joon, and Yang Jae-hoon touched the touchpad in the 800-meter freestyle relay final in 7:04.07, tying their best-ever finish of sixth place.

“I was very nervous while competing against strong athletes, but I felt that I grew and became a stronger athlete. I had fun and enjoyed the race,” said Lee Ho-joon.

As for racing with Hwang Sun-woo, he said, “It was positive for me to be able to race with a high-level player in Korea. We had some tough times, but we were able to overcome them and get to this point.”

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