INCHEON, March 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korean swimming sensation Hwang Sun-woo returned Wednesday from an intensive training session in Australia with a tanned face and high hopes for setting his best records at the Asian Games and World Championships this year.
The 19-year-old completed a 35-day training session with his three other teammates run by Australian coach Richard Scarce at Miami Swimming Club on the Gold Coast.
Hwang said his first training in outdoor pools in hot weather was challenging but was satisfied with the overall results from the rigorous regimen.
"I was quite surprised by the intensity of coach Scarce's training at first, which was 1.3, 1.4 times more intense than what I had done in Korea," Hwang told reporters at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, after returning from Australia.
"I think it was a satisfying training session as I was able to achieve a good record even with a training suit after enduring such strong training," he added.
He expressed confidence in the Korean swimming team's performance in the men's relay 800m at the upcoming Asian Games, set to be held in Hangzhou, China, in September.
South Korea's best relay performance remains the silver medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay at the 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games.
At last year's worlds, Hwang and his teammates finished sixth in the 4x200m relay while setting a national record time of 7:06.93. It was the first appearance in any relay final by South Korea at a world championship.
"I think we could have achieved a better record at that time because we could not show our full potential. I believe we can achieve a good result in the Asian Games," he said. "With our current record, we may have a chance for a gold medal if we can shorten our time to the 7 minutes and 4 seconds range. Each athlete needs to shorten their time by 0.5 to 0.8 seconds."
This year, Hwang said he wants to break his own Korean record of 47.56 seconds in the men's freestyle 100m.
"I did a lot of practice for the freestyle 100m pace during training with coach Scarce. I hope to break my personal best record that I could not achieve last year," he said.
Ahead of the Asian Games, he will also compete at the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, in July.
He won silver in the 200m free at last year's event in Budapest, Hungary, to become the first South Korean swimmer since Park Tae-hwan in 2011 to reach a World Championship podium.
"I want to stand on the podium again in Fukuoka first," he said. "Then, I want to achieve good results in both my individual and relay events at the Asian Games, which I consider the most important competition this year."