The Japanese are notorious for swimming fast in-season. Sometimes, that can cause a letdown come year’s end. In some cases, however, they are so fast every time out that it almost doesn’t matter if they don’t have big tapers.
This is the case with backstroker Aya Terakawa, who broke the National Record in the women’s 100 backstroke on Friday at the 2012 Japan Open in Tokyo.
She took the win in the individual race in 59.08, which just barely slides under her 59.10 set in April at Japan’s Olympic Trials for the best of her career. She remains as the 8th-fastest of all-time, second in the world in 2012, and the third-fastest swimmer in textile. At this point, there aren’t many swimmers in the world who can get that fast, and even though she peaked before Worlds in 2011, she’s still a great candidate for a medal.
In the men’s 200 fly, Takeshi Matsuda didn’t break a record, but did look spectacular in 1:54.69. That gives him three swims under 1:55 this year; a barrier that has only been broken 5 times across the world.
Not all swimmers from that country follow the same pattern, however. Natsumi Hoshi, who with a 2:04 is the current world leader in the women’s 200 fly, won this race in only a 2:07.45. That’s a big add since April, but is still one of the 15 fastest swims in the world this year.
In other notable swims of the first day of competition, four swimmers went under 1:08.5 in the women’s 100 breaststroke; led by Satomi Suzuki in 1:08.07. 15-year old Kanako Watanabe was 2nd in 1:08.29. Those two, combined with Mio Motegi (1:08.42) and Mina Mastushita (1:08.44); and all are young (21-or-under).
For Watanabe, that’s about a second-and-a-half slower than she was at last year’s Japan Open, where she had her big coming out, so we know she at least should havea big taper in her still.
In the men’s versions of those races, Ryo Tateishi (1:00.45 – 100 breaststroke) and Ryosuke Irie (53.30 – 100 backstroker) were the winners.