Swimming’s ‘Yellow-Gold Generation’ Makes History

The sport of swimming management in Korea is currently undergoing an unprecedented renaissance. Whereas the genius of Park Tae-hwan “Marine Boy” Park (35-retired) struggled in the 2000s, several athletes, including Hwang Sun-woo (20) and Kim Woo-min (22-over Gangwon Province), have emerged simultaneously to lead the way. Hwang and Kim won gold medals in the men’s 200-meter freestyle and 400-meter freestyle at the FINA World Championships Doha 2024, respectively, proving that South Korean swimming is no longer a fringe sport.

Hwang and Kim made history again when they won silver in the men’s 800-meter freestyle relay with Yang Jae-hoon (25, Gangwon Provincial Office) and Lee Ho-joon (22, Jeju Provincial Office).

The South Korean medley relay team of Yang Jae-hoon, Kim Woo-min, Lee Ho-joon and Hwang Sun-woo finished in 7:01.94 in the men’s 800 medley relay final at the World Championships on Sunday at the Aspire Dome in Doha, Qatar. They were second, just 0.10 seconds behind first-place China (7:01.84), led by Fan Zhanle and others. The United States was third in 7:02.08.

This is the first time an Asian nation has won the men’s 800 medley relay, which has been a World Championships event since the first edition in Belgrade in 1973. Despite losing the first Asian title to China, Hwang Sun-woo, Kim Woo-min, Lee Ho-joon and Yang Jae-hoon won the first team medal in Korean swimming history at the World Championships. Qualifier Lee Yoo-yeon (23-Goyang City Hall) also took home a shiny silver medal.

The first runner of the final, Yang Jae-hoon, started the race in eighth place with a time of 1:47.78, but the second runner, Kim Woo-min, stepped up to third place with a 1:44.93 split. Lee Ho-joon also held on to third place in 1:45.47 before passing the baton to the final youngster, Hwang Sun-woo. South Korea, which was 3.25 seconds behind leader USA and 2.14 seconds behind second-place China through 600 meters, moved up to second place with the final swimmer, Hwang Sun-woo, the 200-meter freestyle gold medalist at the Games, clocking 1:43.76, the fastest time of the day’s 32 finalists.

The performance also raised hopes that South Korean swimming could win a team medal at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris in July. Hwang Sun-woo and Kim Woo-min expressed their motivation before the start of the competition, saying, “We are looking forward to the relay results as much as the individual events. We had a good training camp in Australia, and each member of the relay is getting better, so we are looking forward to winning a medal.”

After winning a silver medal in the 200m freestyle at Budapest 2022 and a bronze medal in the 200m freestyle at Fukuoka 2023, Hwang added a gold and a silver in Doha, taking his total to four medals at the World Championships, surpassing Park Tae-hwan and Kim Soo-ji (three medals) as the most decorated South Korean swimmer.

South Korean swimming won two gold (men’s 200-400 freestyle), one silver (men’s 800 freestyle relay) and two bronze (women’s 3 diving, mixed 3) medals in Doha, surpassing Park Tae-hwan’s two medals at Melbourne 2007, the country’s best single World Championships performance.


16 thoughts on “Swimming’s ‘Yellow-Gold Generation’ Makes History

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *