S. Korean Hwang Sun-woo reaches 200m freestyle final at worlds, eyes 3rd straight medal

SEOUL, South Korean swimmer Hwang Sun-woo has advanced to the final of the men's 200-meter freestyle at the ongoing world championships in Qatar, where he will try to become the first from the country to win a medal at three straight competitions. Hwang posted the second-fastest time in the 200m freestyle semifinals of the World Aquatics Championships at 1:45.15, finishing 0.19 second behind Danas Rapsys of Lithuania at the Aspire Dome in Doha on Monday (local time). The final, which will feature the top-eight swimmers from the semifinals, will begin in Doha at 7:02 p.m. Tuesday (local time), or 1:02 a.m. Wednesday (South Korea time). In the heats held earlier Monday, Hwang had finished 11th with a time of 1:46.99. Hwang is so far the only South Korean swimmer to have won a medal at back-to-back world championships, with his silver in 2022 and bronze in 2023 in the 200m freestyle. He will try to extend his streak to three. "I was quite worried during the heats because I didn't feel as great as I thought I would," Hwang said in a video clip released by his agency, All That Sports. "But in the semifinals, I had a far better race, both in terms of my time and my performance. Now that I've made it to my third straight final, I would love to reach the podium for the third straight time." Hwang, however, wouldn't be the first South Korean swimmer to grab a medal in Doha, as his relay teammate, Kim Woo-min, beat him to it with his gold medal in the men's 400m freestyle Sunday. Hwang, 20, owns the South Korean national record in the 200m freestyle at 1:44.40, which he set while winning the gold medal at the Asian Games in September last year. Hwang is considered a strong gold medal favorite in the race, with most of his rivals skipping the competition to focus on their preparation for the Paris Olympics this summer. The past two world champions, David Popovici of Romania and Matthew Richards of Britain, are both sitting out the 200m race, as is Tom Dean of Britain, who won bronze in 2022 and silver in 2023. Rap sys' personal best in the 200m freestyle is 1:44.38, set at a Swimming World Cup event in August 2019. Rapsys and Hwang will be competing in Lanes 4 and 5, respectively. Lurking at the far end in Lane 8 will be Duncan Scott of Britain, the 2021 Olympic silver medalist. Source: Yonhap News Agency