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(Olympics) Teen swimmer Hwang Sun-woo calls Olympic debut 'turning point'

All News 20:35 July 30, 2021

TOKYO, July 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korean teen swimming phenom Hwang Sun-woo wrapped up his first Olympics on Friday, calling the experience "a turning point" in his burgeoning career.

Finishing well back of the pack in the 50m freestyle at Tokyo Aquatics Centre did little to dampen the excitement surrounding the rise of the 18-year-old, who finished fifth in the 100m and seventh in the 200m final at Tokyo Aquatics Centre this week.

Hwang Sun-woo of South Korea smiles after completing his 50m freestyle heat race at the Tokyo Olympics at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on July 30, 2021. (Yonhap)

Hwang also set several records along the way, including an Asian record in the 100m during the semifinals.

Hwang became the first South Korean swimmer since Park Tae-hwan to reach an Olympic final race.

After clocking 22.74 seconds in the 50m heats to rank 39th -- outside the top 16 bound for the semifinals -- Hwang took a moment to reflect on his first Olympics.

"I've learned and experienced so much here," Hwang said. "By racing against some of the top swimmers, I had a chance to think about how I should manage my races and how I should train to improve."

Hwang said his immediate goal was to "keep working hard and breaking my own records."

"It isn't an exaggeration to say I exceeded expectations here," Hwang said. "I think the Tokyo Olympics will be remembered as a turning point in my swimming career."

Though just 18 himself, Hwang said he wants to inspire younger athletes to reach the Olympic finals, just as he did this week.

"I'd love to see another Korean swimmer in the Olympics," Hwang added.

Hwang Sun-woo of South Korea races in the men's 50m freestyle heats at the Tokyo Olympics at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on July 30, 2021. (Yonhap)


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