2 Japanese Sprint Freestyle Records Broken, Yet No Olympic Qualifiers

Today marked the 5th finals session of the 2016 Japanese Olympic Trials in Tokyo and we were treated to some thrilling races. As a testament to the fact that Japanese sprinting on both the men’s and women’s is progressively improving from year-to-year, both the men’s and women’s 100m freestyle national records were broken during tonight’s finals.

After an already history-making prelims where 12 Japanese men went sub-50 in the 100 free, tonight’s top 2 men both broke the existing Japanese National Record in the event. The previous national record holder, Katsumi Nakamura, improved upon his swift 48.53 semi swim to register a monster 48.25 to represent the fastest Japanese man of all-time. That blows away his old record of 48.41 by more than a tenth.

Right behind Nakamura in that men’s final was Shinri Shioura, who also dipped beneath the previous national record with a stellar mark of 48.35.

For the women, sprinting mainstay Miki Uchida took back her national record from 15-year-old Rikako Ikee tonight, becoming just the 2nd Japanese woman ever to clock a sub-54-second time. 53.88 is what Uchida churned out for the gold tonight, splitting 26.09/27.79. The mark puts Uchida just outside the world’s top 10 in the event this season.

Right behind was teenage phenom and former National Record Holder Ikee, who touched in 54.06 for silver, just .07 of a second off of her lifetime best of 53.99 from earlier this year.

In a phenomenon we saw recently at the French Olympic Trials, whose federation set specific Olympic-qualifying standards faster than the FINA A cuts in most cases, even with national records having been broken, the net result is zero tickets punched to Rio for the 100m freestyle event.

As fast as these men and women were tonight relative to sprinting history in Japan, neither of the top 2 men or women were able to score a mark beneath the Japanese Olympic-qualifying standards of 48.16 and 53.81 during their respective races.

Pending a subjective decision by the Japanese Swimming Federation, if that’s even something being considered, the nation of Japan is without individual male and female 100m freestyle representation in Rio at this point.

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8 years ago

Could someone please explain to me what the point is of having an ‘Olympic cut’ within a country? am I correct in saying these cuts are self-imposed? Meaning, the country itself decides these cuts, not FINA or anyone else? IF that is the case, why?!? Wouldn’t a country WANT to have their country represented by the best 2 (or 3) individuals, regardless of ability? I am not sure if the Olympics has a specific cut, but given that Moussembani (sp?) made it, I would say no, they don’t.

Again, what is the point of having your own country self-made cut if it means that so few will go to the olympics? In the USA, it’s very simple…if you are the… Read more »

8 years ago

48.2 doesn’t make Olympics…..? Lol

BayArea Swim
Reply to  Pvdh
8 years ago

I think he will go, on the virtue of being the necessary free leg for 4×100 medley.
And once he is in the team, he can swim his individual events, provided he has swims under FINA A, which he already has with the 100.

8 years ago

utterly ridiculous especially on the mens side.
for the past 3 major competitions these times from nakamura and shioura would have made the final.
2012 it took 48.38
2013 48.46
2015 48.49
swimming internationally competitive times but its apparently not good enough

Reply to  MaxN96
8 years ago

Agreed, a 48.25 deserves a spot on the Olympic team. Japan will have a medley relay so he will get to go, and will swim the individual because he is already there.

Victor P
Reply to  G3
8 years ago

But so does a 48.35. To train all those years, make the FINA A cut by a mile, but then have it arbitrarily taken away by an ambitious swimming federation….

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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