Lee Ri-young (22, Busan Swimming Federation) has reached her second consecutive World Aquatics Championships final in the Artistic Swimming Solo Technical.
Lee finished eighth with a score of 201.7866 in the solo technical qualification on Thursday at Fukuoka Marine Messe Fukuoka Hall in Fukuoka, Japan, on the opening day of the 2023 World Aquatics Championships.
The top 12 qualifiers punched their tickets to the final at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
Lee earned a 91.4500 artistic score and a 110.3366 performance score for a total score of 201.7866, good for eighth place out of 30 competitors.
Last year in Budapest, Hungary, Lee finished 12th in the preliminaries and became the first South Korean athlete to reach a World Aquatics Championships solo technical final since 2013, when the current scoring system was introduced.
In a year’s time, Lee has improved her performance even further and qualified for the final in eighth place, four places higher than her 12th place finish last year.
At the same time, she made history by becoming the first Korean artistic swimmer to reach the final of two consecutive World Championships.
Earlier in the day, Budapest gold medalist YUKIKO INUI (32-JPN) topped the preliminary round with a score of 273.2700.
Lee will team up with Heo Yoon-seo (17-PA) in the duet technical qualification at 3 p.m. today.
Lee and Heo made history at Budapest last year, becoming the first South Korean pair to reach the World Championships final (12th) since the current scoring system was introduced.
If Lee continues her stellar performance in the afternoon, she will advance to the individual and duet finals for the second consecutive World Championships.
Lee was born to Shin Yeo-jung, a former swimming management athlete, and Lee Million, a former track and field athlete.
Lee was introduced to swimming at an early age and has represented her country since 2015, when she was in her third year of middle school.
In South Korea, 먹튀검증 where artistic swimming is not widely practiced, Lee quickly established herself as one of the country’s top athletes and slowly worked her way to the center of the world stage.
After finishing 15th in the solo technical at the 2017 World Championships in Gwangju, she reached her first final in Budapest in 2022, finishing 12th, and broke into the top 10 in Fukuoka in 2023, finishing eighth.