Swimming star Park Tae-hwan is aiming to set a new world record at the 400-m freestyle in Shanghai on Sunday to prove that his wins at the 2007 World Championships and 2008 Beijing Olympics were not the end of his dominance in the event.
Park arrived in China's gleaming financial hub, the venue for the 2011 FINA World Swimming Championships, on Monday and resumes training from Tuesday. His fans and competitors alike will be keen to see if his hard work in Brisbane, Australia, under top coach Michael Bohl has paid off and made him the man to watch in the 400-m free.
Park, who also claimed silver at the 200-m free in Beijing three years ago, has special ties with Shanghai. In April 2006, he picked up silvers in the 400-m and 1,500-m freestyle events when the city hosted the World Short-course Swimming Championships while he was still a high school student. Short-course competitions are held in a 25-m swimming lane, half the length of the standard size course for the Olympics.
In 2006, Park became the first Korean swimmer to win a medal at the worlds. Now he is gunning to write the next chapter in his personal legend in the city where he first made a name for himself as a force to be reckoned with five years ago.