2020 KOSUKE KITAJIMA CUP
- Friday, January 24th – Sunday, January 26th
- Tatsumi International Swimming Centre, Tokyo, Japan
- 50m (LCM)
- Meet Information
- SwimSwam Preview
- Day 1 Recap/Day 2 Recap
While competing on day 3 of the 2020 Kosuke Kitajima Cup in Tokyo, Japan, 18-year-old Shoma Sato busted out the best 200m breaststroke time of his young career to top the podium in 2:07.58.
In the process, Sato beat out former World Record holder and the 2019 World Championships bronze medalist in this event in Gwangju last summer, Ippei Watanabe, staking his claim on a possible national title and Olympic berth when the nation’s Trials come in April.
After establishing himself as the top-seeded swimmer today with a morning effort of 2:10.39, Sato unleashed a lifetime best of 2:07.58 to snag the gold here at Tatsumi.
Splitting 1:01.41/1:06.17, Sato narrowly defeated Watanabe, who touched a fingernail behind in 2:07.86. Watanabe opened in 1:01.47 but finished in 1:06.39 to fall short at this early 2020 meet.
Entering this Kosuke Kitajima Cup, Sato’s personal best rested at the 2:09.21 he produced at the Japanese Student Swimming Championships last September. That outing dipped under the 2:09.39 that FINA officially recognizes as the World Junior Record. That time was done by China’s Qin Haiyang at the 2017 World Championships.
However, Qin was faster than his 2:09.39 at least twice in 2017, when he was still eligible for World Junior Records, including a 2:08.71 at the Chinese Championships and a 2:07.35 at the Chinese National Games. Neither of those times was recognized as the WJR, however, when the slower time from the World Championships was.
Sato swam a time of 2:09.56 to snag silver at the 2019 World Junior Championships but entirely frog-hopped the 2:08-range with his monster 2:07.58 mark tonight.
The teen’s 2:07.58 now ranks him #2 in the world this season.
Men’s 200 Breaststroke Top 5 Performers Since September 2019: