Crowds gathered to watch the swimming events at the main Nambu University stadium starting on the 21st and the high diving competition from the 22nd. The picture shows the swimming venue (July 21, 2019)The men’s national water polo team playing against New Zealand on the 23rd; High diving began on the 22nd; GYONG Da-seul is happy with the first goal of her career during the women’s water polo; KIM Seo-young feels sad finishing sixth in the 200m individual medley (clockwise from top)
| Gwangju Championship swimming & water polo venues filled to capacity.
| High barrier to get a medal … Challenge will continue
| Five matches six goals, beautiful tailender … “We will keep going in water polo” …
| 27m high dive ‘like a bird’
Crowds for high diving & swimming … Appreciation of popularity
The start of the swimming events and high diving competitions at the 2019 Gwangju FINA World Championships have seen a surge of last-minute spectator interest. According to Gwangju city and the organizing committee, 1,983 spectators visited Chosun University for the first day of the men’s and women’s high diving competitions on July 22nd, while 5,536 fans were at the Nambu University main pool for the start of the swimming preliminaries, including the men’s and women’s 100m backstroke, where the home fans enjoyed seeing four Korean swimmers qualify for the evening finals and a shot at the gold medal, including KIM Seo-young in the women’s 200-meter individual medley, the men’s 100-meter butterfly, etc.
The 11th day of the Championships reached a cumulative total of 169,115 visitors, with the largest single audience of 65,404 for the diving finals on July 20th. High diving, which sold out before the middle of the competition, takes place from 22nd-24th, while the swimming events run from the 22nd until the closing day of the Championships on the 28th. These two events are expected to lead the last success of the Championship.
Out of the total six Championship events, three have concluded competition: the open-water swimming on the 19th, and artistic swimming and diving on the 20th. The remaining events are water polo, which will finish on the 27th, swimming, with medal races starting from the 21st, and high diving which lasts for three days from the 22nd.
With the Championships at the halfway point, it is a good time to turn attention to the medal standings. As of 2p.m. on the 22nd, diving powerhouse China topped the list with 24 medals including 14 gold, 9 silver and 1 bronze, while Russia, the artistic swimming specialists, hold second with 15 medals (9 gold, 5 silver, 1 bronze). Australia is third place with 6 medals (3 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze). Swimming powerhouse USA lies sixth with 11 medals (1 gold, 4 silver, 6 bronze), but is widely expected climb the standings once the swimming competition begins.
South Korea is ranking 17th with one bronze medal.
KIM Seo-young, fought well placing 3rd mid-way through the women’s 200m individual medley … Finished 6th!
KIM Seo-young (25), who had high hopes of being the Korean female medalist at the world championships, failed to win a medal. Instead, she will take the valuable experience of two consecutive finals into her preparations for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
At the 2019 Gwangju FINA World Championships Nambu University International Swimming Pool, KIM Seo-young finished sixth in the women’s 200m individual medley finals, with a time of 2:10.12. She fell just short of her personal best of 2:09.97 set at the 2018 Asian Games. In the 200-meter individual medley, each competitor swims 50m with each stroke, in the order butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle. Kim captured top spot after the butterfly length and held on to third place following the backstroke but crashed to last after a weak breaststroke. She recovered in the final freestyle, but failed to catch the medalists, and finished seventh out of eight before finally placing 6th with the disqualification of Japanese swimmer Yui Ohashi. Kim will compete in the 400-meter individual medley on the 28th.
Beginning, not the end; A new start for Korean Water Polo!
As the game ended, the faces of the Korean women’s national water polo team, already flushed from effort, glowed even more. The players left the water, hugged, and shed tears.
Korea’s first ever women’s national water polo team finished their competition on the 22nd. At Nambu University’s water polo stadium, the national team lost 0-3 to Cuba in the fifteenth match of the 2019 Gwangju FINA World Championships.
Despite the team’s five-game losing streak and lowest placing among the 16 countries, the Korean Swimming Federation is looking for ways to continue the women’s national water polo team, considering the high global potential.
Through the efforts of the Korean men’s water polo team, they have become more likely to enter the world stage. On the 23rd at the Nambu University water polo stadium, they won their final ranking match against New Zealand in a penalty shoot-out 17-16 (3-3, 2-2, 4-5, 3-2, 5-4).
This was the first time the Korean men’s water polo team has ever won a Championship match in their entire history. They finished the competition in 15th place.
A lot was learned from these World Championships, and the men’s water polo team’s first ever dream victory has led to bigger dreams. It is hoped that through this, Korea, a previous water polo wasteland, can expand its water polo base and interest.
A three-day dizzying contest, High Diving
High diving is one of the highlights of the Championships, and as this was the first high diving event held in Korea, attention grew day by day. According to organizing committee statistics, there were 2,390 spectators on the 22nd; 99 percent of the 2,430 seats sold. As if to demonstrate the popularity of the competition, the Chosun University venue was filled with 800 spectators before the event has even begun.
High diving, called ‘3-second art’, begins when the athlete stands on the board installed atop the 33-meter-tall steel structure, before diving at speeds of up to 90 kilometers per hour into a 6m-deep 17m-wide circular pool. Three rescuers wait in the tank for divers’ safety. Each dive’s score is shown directly on the stadium screen.
Two high diving gold medals will be awarded, for the men’s and women’s events.