Hwang Sun-woo cruises into 100-meter freestyle semifinals at world championships

Hwang Sun-Woo of Korea celebrates after the FINA World Aquatics Championships Doha 2024 in Doha, Qatar, Feb. 13. EPA-Yonhap

Korean swimmer Hwang Sun-woo cruised into the semifinals of the men’s 100-meter freestyle at the world championships in Qatar on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after winning the 200-meter freestyle gold medal. Hwang posted the sixth-fastest time in the heats with 48.15 seconds at the World Aquatics Championships at the Aspire Dome in Doha. The top 16 swimmers qualified for the semifinals, scheduled to begin at 7:26 p.m. Wednesday in Qatar, or 1:26 a.m. Thursday in Korean time.

The top eight swimmers from the semis will advance to the final, which will take place at 1:21 a.m. Friday in Seoul time. Hwang won the 200-meter freestyle gold Tuesday evening in Doha for his first career world title and his third world championships medal overall. He won silver in 2022 and bronze in 2023, both in the 200-meter freestyle. The 100-meter freestyle is not Hwang’s main event. At last year’s world championships, he’d finished ninth in the semifinals to miss out on the final. Hwang owns the national record in the 100-meter free with 47.56 seconds, set during the Tokyo Olympics in July 2021 when he was only 18 years old.

Since then, Hwang has kept his focus on the 200-meter freestyle, where he has been steadily improving his time and broke his own national record at the Asian Games in September 2023 with a time of 1:44.40.In the 100-meter in Doha, Pan Zhanle of China, the current world record holder, is regarded as the strongest gold medal contender. He set the world record by leading off the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay on Sunday with a split of 46.80 seconds. Pan won Wednesday’s heats in 47.82 seconds. Alessandro Miressi of Italy, another medal threat, finished second in the heats in 47.94 seconds. Among other notables, Matthew Richards of Britain finished fourth in the heats in 48.05 seconds. Richards won the 200-meter freestyle gold at the 2023 world championships, ahead of his countryman Tom Dean and Hwang. But both Richards and Dean skipped the 200-meter race this time to ease their load in Doha and focus on their preparations for the 메이저 Paris Olympics

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