2018 KONAMI OPEN
- Saturday, February 17th & Sunday, February 18th
- Tatsumi International Swimming Center
- Prelims at 9am local (7pm previous night EST)/Finals at 6pm local (4am EST)
- Meet Site
- SwimSwam Meet Preview
- Day 1 Recap
- Start Lists/Results
On top of the national records set by Rikako Ikee in the 50m butterfly and Katsumi Nakamura in the 100m freestyle on day 2 of the Konami Open, several other stars threw down impressive performances to foreshadow battles that potentially will take place at this year’s Asian Games.
Natsumi Sakai wowed the crowd with a new personal best and meet record in the 200m backstroke, topping the field in a monster 2:08.98. At just 17 years of age, Sakai may be the hope Japanese women backstrokers have been looking for, and she comes with international experience having won bronze in the event at last year’s World Junior Championships.
Sakai’s sub-2:09 effort tonight marks the first time the teen has been under the 2:09 mark, with her bronze from Indianapolis having come from a time of 2:09.34. She was the only swimmer to register a time under 2:11 in tonight’s field and her time falls just outside the world’s top 5 in the event so far this season.
Seasoned racer Reona Aoki was another winner on the night, taking the women’s 100m breaststroke in a time of 1:06.81. That checks-in as Aoki’s best time, beating her previous career fastest of 1:07.07. Her time tonight also surpassed the old meet record of 1:06.53. Aoki is just 1 of 3 racers worldwide who have crossed the 1:07 threshold, with her outing now sitting as 3rd fastest in the world behind USA’s Katie Meili and China’s Jinglin Shi.
The Japanese men have proven time and again how they are a mega force when it comes to the IM events, as Hiromasa Fujimori demonstrated in Tokyo tonight. Less than 2 months out from the highly anticipated Japanese National Championships, Fujimori cranked out a wicked-fast 1:57.90 200m IM to not only snag gold tonight, but to come within .69 of what he produced for 4th place at the 2016 Olympic Games. Kosuke Hagino was also in the race tonight, clocking 1:58.45 for 2nd place.
Remarkably, his super fast time tonight places Fujimori just outside the world’s top 5 in the event so far this season, as the likes of teammate Daiya Seto, China’s Wang Shun and USA’s Chase Kalisz have all produced quick 1:57-times already.
World Championships silver medalist Yui Ohashi doubled up on her 400m IM victory from night 1 with a decisive win in the 200m distance of the race tonight. With her winning time of 2:09.42, Ohashi’s performance registered as a new meet record and also represented the only time of the field under 2:10. Her time tonight now tops the world rankings, surpassing Sydney Pickrem’s 2:09.92 from Austin. Ohashi’s outing also overtakes her own season-best of 2:10.00 produced just a couple of weeks ago at the Kosuke Kitajima Cup.
Naito Ehara produced a winning 400m freestyle time of 3:48.60 for the men for gold, while sprinter Ikee won the women’s edition of the race in 4:09.29. For Ehara, he currently sits #2 in the world with the 3:47.18 produced last September, while Ikee’s time tonight resulted in a new personal best for the 17-year-old.
The fact that Ikee can throw down in-season times of 25.44 in the 50m fly and 54-low in the 100m freestyle, but also produce a 400m freestyle mark that sits within the top 10 in the world speaks volumes about this 5’7″ powerhouse.