| Park Tae-hwan, 25, dubbed "Marine Boy," has demonstrated a strong chance to win a gold medal at the Incheon Asian Games.
At the final round of men뭩 400-meter freestyle competition at the Pan Pacific Championships that took place at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre in Gold Coast, Australia on Saturday, Park clinched victory by posting a time of 3:43:14, a new record in this season뭩 world rankings. He has won the gold medal in men뭩 400-meter freestyle in three consecutive events of the championship.
The time lags behind his Korean record of 3:41:53, which he set when he acquired the gold medal at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games. However, he easily surpassed this season뭩 his own 400-meter freestyle record of 3:43:96, which he set at the South Wales State Open Championships in Australia in February. Notably, he broke this season뭩 world record (time of 3:43:46) set by Canada`s Ryan Cochrane.
Park뭩 reaction time at the departure line was the second fastest (0.65 seconds) after Japan뭩 Kosuke Hagino (time of 0.64 seconds), 20. Starting from the 100-meter point, Park never allowed competitors to overtake him in the race. He displayed powerful spurt, his signature swimming technique, in the final 50-meter section, to post a time of 26.99 seconds and become the first to hit the finish line.
Park agonized over whether to participate in the event until the last minute, and eventually decided to only take part in just one competition, the 400-meter freestyle, in a bid to maintain his sensibility in real competitions. Kosuke Hagino, Japan뭩 rising star who will compete for the gold with Park at the upcoming Asian Games, finished second with a time of 3:44:56. Park뭩 archrival Sun Yang, 23, of China did not participate in the championships.