‘Artistic Swim Goddess’ Heo Yun-seo (17, Apgujeong-go) made a surprise fourth place finish in the women’s solo free heats at the World Aquatics Championships.
Heo Yun-seo (KOR) finished fourth overall with a score of 185.9500 in the Artistic Swimming Solo Free Preliminary Round at the Aqua 2023 Fukuoka World Aquatics Championships on Sunday (July 17) at Fukuoka Marine Messe Fukuoka Hall in Fukuoka, Japan. Home favorite Yukiko Inui, 32, topped the heats with 253.1853 points, followed by Kate Shortman, 21, Great Britain-213.8417, and Evangelia Platanaoti, 28, Greece-199.4834. It was a confident performance from the youngster, who didn’t look intimidated by her more experienced senior sisters, to round out the top four.
After reaching her first final in the women’s 사설토토 duet technical at last year’s World Championships in Budapest, where she finished 12th, He showed off the dazzling skills she has honed over the years in her first senior solo World Championships.
The duo finished 13th in the duet technical and failed to qualify, but their solo performance was nothing short of spectacular, earning them a career-best 4th place finish.
The Korean artistic swimmer will attempt to win her country’s first ever World Championship medal in the women’s solo free final at 7:30 p.m. today. Heo Yun-seo’s path is one of artistic swimming history. After becoming the first duet finalist since World Swimming introduced the current scoring system in 2013, Heo made her first final in the solo free last year.
Heo Yun-seo is a self-described “tick-tock” athlete who has been successfully juggling her studies and athletics since she was in the first grade of elementary school. In 2019, she was selected as a JS Foundation Scholar by soccer legend Park Ji-sung, and in 2021, she was named one of the 20 New Stars by the Korea Sports Council. Last year, he won the 14th Sogang Sports Award and the 32nd Yoon Gok Kimyung Sports Award for Rookie of the Year. She also missed the pre-departure press conference for the Fukuoka World Championships because she had to go to class, so she gives 200% to everything she does, whether it’s studying or athletics.
He first made a name for himself four years ago in 2019 when he placed fifth in the world in the solo event at the Artistic Swimming Youth World Championships in Slovakia, his first competition as a teenager. He was praised for his powerful performance and charismatic facial expressions beyond his young age, and it was reported that the “14-year-old unknown Korean athlete”‘s achievement caused the audience to ask, “Who is that?”. In an interview at the time, she responded to being labeled “Kim Yeon-ah of Artistic Swim” by saying, “Just as Kim Yeon-ah made many people interested in figure skating, it would be great if my beloved sport of Artistic Swim could be known by many people.” She kept her promise on the senior stage. In July 2023, the name He Yunxi was introduced to the world of artistic swimming, and fans were eagerly awaiting her arrival.