‘Hangzhou butterfly gold’ secures Baek’s spot at Doha World Aquatics Championships
Baek In-cheol (23, Jung-gu Office, Busan, South Korea), who won a gold medal in swimming at the Hangzhou Asian Games, has virtually secured a spot at the World Aquatics Championships for the second time in his career.
Baek touched the touchpad in 23.48 seconds in the men’s 50-meter butterfly final on the fourth day of the 2024 Swimming Management National Team Trials at the Gimcheon Indoor Pool in Gimcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do, on Saturday afternoon.
His time was faster than the 23.50 he posted at the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, in July, but behind the Korean record (23.15) he set at the National Games last month.
His time was 0.05 seconds faster than the International Swimming Federation’s A record (23.53), and he qualified for the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, next February.
This will be Baek’s second appearance at the World Championships, following the Fukuoka Games in Japan in July.
He is the fourth swimmer to qualify for Doha, joining Lee Ju-ho (28-Seogwipo City Hall), Kim Woo-min (22-Gangwon Provincial Office) and Kim Seo-young (29-Gyeongbuk Provincial Office).
“It was very difficult for me to compete in the Asian Games, the National Championships and this selection, but I am proud to have qualified for the World Championships on my own,” Baek said through the Korean Swimming Federation. “My goal is to show better results in Doha next year than I did in Fukuoka.”
Baek won a surprise gold medal in the 50-meter butterfly at the Hangzhou Asian Games in September, setting a meet record of 23.29 seconds.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever had fans, so it definitely gives me a lot of support and motivation, and I’m more focused in competition,” said Baek, who became a household name among Korean swimming fans after his Asian Games victory.
Earlier in the day, Lee won the men’s 100-meter backstroke in 53.56 seconds, just off the International Federation A record of 54.03 seconds, to qualify for two events after the 200-meter backstroke.
Lee set a new Korean record in the 200 backstroke on April 24, clocking 1:56.05.
“I’m grateful to be able to compete in two events on my own,” Lee said, “I was hoping for a Korean record in the 100 meters, but I think old habits die hard.”
Lee, who will compete in the 50-meter backstroke final on Sunday, said, “The juniors have improved a lot, so I’m more motivated because the times are similar. My goal is to pass the FINA standard in the 50 meters,” he said.
In the 50-meter breaststroke, Choi Dong-yeol (24-Gangwon Provincial Office) won the 100-meter breaststroke in 27.49 seconds, surpassing the Korean Swimming Federation (KSF) standard in both events.
Swimmers qualify for the World Championships in Doha next February by breaking the FINA A standard and finishing in the top two in their respective events.
The first-place finishers in each event who did not surpass the FINA A time but only passed the KSF standard time will be reviewed by the Performance Improvement Committee to decide whether to compete at the World Championships.
Choi Dong-yeol failed to break the FINA A time in both the 50-meter and 100-meter breaststroke, passing only the KSF standard time, and will now await the decision of the Performance Enhancement Committee.
Yang Ji-won (26-Gumi City Sports Association) finished first in the 50-meter breaststroke in 32.30 seconds, Song Jae-yoon (16-Seoul Chego 1) in the 100-meter backstroke in 1:01.58 and Jung So-eun (27-Ulsan Metropolitan City Hall) in the 50-meter butterfly in 27.11 seconds.
No swimmer broke the KSF standard in the women’s event. 토토사이트