2021 JAPAN SWIM (OLYMPIC TRIALS)
- Saturday, April 3rd – Saturday, April 10th
- Tokyo Olympic Aquatics Centre
- LCM (50m)
- Japan’s Sole Olympic-Qualifying Opportunity
- JASF Olympic Selection Policy
- SwimSwam Preview
- Day 1 Recap/Day 2 Recap/Day 3 Recap/Day 4 Recap
- Live Results
- Live Stream (Prelims Only)
Entering this 2021 Japan Swim, the meet which represents the nation’s sole Olympic-qualifying opportunity, we knew that the men’s 200m breaststroke would be good. But 19-year-old Shoma Sato exceeded anyone’s expectations by firing off a new lifetime best and Japanese national record-setting effort of 2:06.40 tonight in Tokyo.
Prior to this highly-anticipated showdown, Sato had already proven he’s a viable Olympic medal contender, putting up the #1 time in the world this season in a super quick 2:06.78. That outing alone fell just .11 outside of Ippei Watanabe‘s Japanese standard of 2:06.67, a time that once represented the world record.
However, Sato turned it on big-time tonight, dropping another .38 to check-in with that 2:06.40, becoming the #2 performer all-time in the process. His result sits only behind the current World Record of 2:06.12 set by Russia’s Anton Chupkov at the 2019 FINA World Championships.
Top LCM 200 Breaststroke Performers All-Time:
- Anton Chupkov (RUS) – 2:06.12, 2019
- Shoma Sato (JPN) – 2:06.40, 2021
- Matt Wilson (AUS) – 2:06.67, 2019
- Ippei Watanabe (JPN) – 2:06.67, 2017
- Arno Kamminga (NED) – 2:06.85, 2020
Splits for Sato’s extremely impressive showing checked in as 1:00.89/1:05.51 to get the job done and qualify for a home-based Games.
Joining him in qualifying was Ryuya Mura, the 2017 World University Games swimmer who just put up the swim of his life to capture the 2nd Olympic slot in 2:07.58.
Entering this meet, Mura’s career-quickest was pointed at the 2:08.15 he logged just last December. However, he let the field know he meant business by capturing the top seed out of the semi-finals, last night stopping the clocking 2:08.08 to land lane 4.
With Mura’s runner-up position, shockingly, left off the Olympic roster entirely now is former World Record holder Ippei Watanabe. The 24-year-old who took bronze in this event at the 2019 FINA World Championships missed the mark tonight, placing 3rd in 2:08.30. That time not only rendered him off the podium, but it also didn’t meet the aforementioned 2:08.28 QT.
Watanabe’s being shut out is very surprising, considering he owned the previous NR and WR of 2:06.67 and already posted a huge season-best of 2:07.08 to sit as the 3rd fastest swimmer in the world entering this meet. We’ll find out if Watanabe is suffering from some kind of injury or sickness or if the man simply had an off-race.