Japan continues to impress at the 2014 National Championship in Tokyo with the level of quality and depth that they’ve put on display.
With all of the fast swimming on the first day of this meet, there were no senior National Records broken (just one Junior National Record went on the books). Day 2, however, would change that, as the women’s 50 breaststroke mark went by the wayside in the final to Satomi Suzuki.
See all of the qualifying standards here.
Men’s 1500 Free – FINALS
Yet another swimmer made a big approach at a National Record, as Kohei Yamamoto won the men’s 1500 free in 14:59.67. That’s his first time under the 15-minute barrier in this event.
He was followed by Syogo Takeda, who at 18 took 2nd in 15:05.16, and Youhei Takiguchi, who was 3rd in 15:07.48.
Yamamoto’s win was a bit of an upset as he improved, and his primary competitors had very poor swims.
Japan’s two representatives in the race at Worlds last year did not qualify for the Pan Pac Championships. That includes defending national champion Ayatsuga Hirai, who was 9th in Barcelona but swam just a 15:08.88 here. the other was Yosuke Miayamoto, who was just 6th in this event final in 15:21.49.
Women’s 50 Breaststroke – FINALS
In the first women’s event of the day, Satomi Suzuki locked up her second event qualification for Pan Pacs with a 31.30 in the women’s 50 breaststroke final. Not only is that another qualifying time, it also breaks her own National Record of 31.40 in the event, and is her first personal best in this event since 2011 (she scratched this race at Worlds to focus on the 100 and 200).
This is another three-qualifier event for Japan, as Mina Matsushima took 2nd in 31.58, which almost broke the national record as well, and Maya Hamano took 3rd in 31.60.
100 meter champion Kanako Watanabe didn’t enter this 50.
Men’s 50 Breaststroke – FINALS
The men’s 50 breaststroke went to Kouichiro Okazaki in 27.63, followed by Yasuhiro Koseki and Masaki Miiyama in 27.69 and 27.77, respectively.
After taking 5th in the prelims, the National Record holder in the event Kosuke Kitajima scratched the final.
Women’s 400 IM – FINALS
Japan continues to ride this wave of success that they’ve had this week even in events where they haven’t been good for quite some time. Sakiko Shimizu, who wasn’t on the World’s roster in 2013, won the women’s 400 IM in 4:36.86. That’s within a second of Japan’s oldest National Record (it was set at the 2000 Olympics) and is four seconds faster than she was to place 3rd at last year’s meet.
She will be joined by Miho Takahashi (4:40.22) at the Pan Pacs, as well as 16-year old Yura Taniguchi, who took 3rd in 4:42.34. The three-through-five competitors in this final are all teenagers, including 19-year old Miyu Ohtsuka who took 5th in 4:43.26. Otsuka was 8th at Worlds in the 400 IM last year, but she is on the outside-looking-in for qualifying this year.
Women’s 200 Free – FINALS
The first real stumble of the women’s meet came in the 200 freestyle individual event. While Japan still has some decisions to make on relays, only a single swimmer was under the Pan Pacs qualifying mark in the women’s 200 free and at that, she was just under. Yasuko Miyamoto took the win in 1:59.94. She started out very well in this swim, splitting 57.74 at the 100, but she fell off of her pace a bit on the last 50.
2nd place wnet to Yayoi Matsumoto, who was a 2:00.24 – slower than the qualifying standard of 1:59.97. Aya Takano was 3rd in 2:00.82, and Misato Yamazki was 4th in 2:01.48. Sachi Mochida was
Men’s 200 Free – FINALS
Kosuke Hagino got his 2nd win of this meet in the men’s 200 free with a 1:45.89, beating out Takeshi Matsuda (1:46.98) on the front end of what should be a very good Japanese 800 free relay for this summer.
Yuuki Kobori (1:47.27) and Daiya Seto (1:48.12) joined them in the top four, which is a solid four and probably the four that Japanese coaches were hoping for in this relay.
That swim for Hagino was one of two in about 30 minutes for him. While he’ll probably pare down his schedule for major meets like Worlds and the Olympics, for now this condensed four-day Japanese Nationals schedule is a rough go for him as he tries to qualify for both his primary individual events as well as relays.
Men’s 100 Backstroke – FINALS
Ryosuke Irie made his debut at this met with a very fast 52.57 win in the men’s 100 backstroke. He was followed close behind by Hagino (53.08) as thw two moved into the number-one and number-two spots in the world (through the completion of the session – with the Brits perhaps having something to say about that still over the weekend).
3rd-place went to the veteran of the group Yuuki Shirai in 54.11, which just barely snuck him under the qualifying standard by .01 seconds.
Junya Koga, who’s in the generation with the likes of Kitajima that is on the tail end of their careers but who have done so much for Japanese swimming, was 7th in 54.72.
Women’s 100 Backstroke – FINALS
The women’s team tailed off again, as they lost a lot of momentum at the end of this session; in the women’s 100 backstroke, with Aya Terakawa retired, nobody hit the qualifying standard.
There was, however, a great battle for 100 meters between Miyuki Takemura (1:00.77) and Sayaka Akase (1:00.81)