Former Olympic swimming champion Park Tae-hwan has capped off his first competition of the season with yet another victory.
Park won the men's 1,500-meter freestyle gold at Arena Pro Swim Series at McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta on Sunday (local time), with the time of 15:06.38.
|Park Tae-hwan of South Korea celebrates his victory in the men's 200-meter freestyle final at the FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, on Dec. 7, 2016. (EPA-Yonhap)|
Felix Auboeck of the United States was a distant runner-up at 15:16.63.
This was Park's third title in Atlanta. The 27-year-old earlier won the 400m and 200m freestyle races.
Park was in the lead after the first 50m in 26.95 seconds, and never once lost his lead. His winning time is the 16th fastest in the world in 2017.
Park, the 2008 Olympic champion in the 400m free, had last competed at the FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships in Canada last December. Park's most recent event held at the 50m pool was the Asian Swimming Championships in Tokyo in November.
He won the 1,500m freestyle in Tokyo in 15:07.86.
Park, who has also won two world titles in the 400m free, is gearing up for the 2017 world championships in Budapest, Hungary, in July. He went safely under the FINA's "A" qualifying times in his three victories, plus in the 100m freestyle, where he won the heats but skipped the final.
The Korea Swimming Federation has said it will recognize times posted by South Korean swimmers in overseas meets between May 7 and 15 and use them to assemble the national team for the worlds, if athletes are unable to enter the May 12-15 trials at home.
Park set up his offseason camp in Sydney, Australia, in February. After the Atlanta meet, he will return to Australia and make a quick stop in South Korea before heading out to Europe next month. (Yonhap)