2016 JAPAN SWIM (JAPANESE OLYMPIC TRIALS)
- Monday, April 4th – Sunday, April 10th
- Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center
- Prelims at 10am local/9pm EDT previous night; Finals at 6:30pm local/5:30am EDT
- Japanese Olympic Qualifying Times (Japanese)
- Psych Sheets (Japanese)
- Day 1 Finals Recap/Day 2 Finals Recap/Day 3 Finals Recap/Day 4 Finals Recap/Day 5 Prelims Recap
- Live Stream (Prelims)
MEN’S 200 BACKSTROKE – SEMI-FINAL
- Japanese National Record – 1:52.51, Ryosuke Irie (2009)
- JPN Olympic Standard – 1:56.79
A remarkable 4 Japanese swimmers fall within the world’s top 10 times in the men’s 200m backstroke event, so we’re in for a mega showdown as we progress from semi’s to finals.
The men are going to have to step it up in the next round, however, as the pack generally maintained its rhythm from this morning. 20-year-old Keita Sunama maintained his top seeded standing, following his morning swim of 1:57.12 up with a swifter mark of 1:56.43.
Although this is just semi’s and the mark doesn’t count toward Rio eligibility until the finals, Sunama’s season-best outing this morning cleared the JPN Olympic-qualifying standard of 1:56.79. He was the only swimmer of the field to have dipped under the threshold thus far.
In the sweet spot of the 2nd seed, Japanese National Record Holder and overall ‘Mr. Consistent’ in this event, Ryosuke Irie, clocked a time of 1:57.05 to modestly improve upon his earlier outing of 1:57.05. For Irie, he’s been as fast as 1:55.42 already this year, barring anything unusual, Irie is on schedule to drop more time in the final en route to surpassing the 1:56.79 JPN Olympic standard.
- Sunama, 1:56.43
- Iriea, 1:57.05
- Matsubara, 1:57.58
- Shriai, 1:58.05
- Kaneko, 1:58.69
- Watanabe, 1:59.67
- Nishimura, 2:00.33
- Hotta, 2:00.40
WOMEN’S 200 BREASTSTROKE – SEMI-FINAL
- Japanese National Record – 2:20.04, Rie Kaneto (2016)
- JPN Olympic Standard – 2:23.21
Japanese women represent 3 of the world’s top 10 times in this event as of today, led by the monster time of 2:20.04 27-year-old Rie Kaneto threw down at the Aquatic Super Series in Perth. That mark now stands as the Japanese National Record and has given Kaneto the confidence boost needed to hold off the likes of young guns such as 15-year-old Runa Imai.
And Kaneto continues to impress in Tokyo. After logging an opening prelim time of 2:24.05, she hacked off 3 seconds exactly to remain as the top seed after tonight’s semi-final. 2:21.05 was the mark the 27-year-old fired off tonight to now own the top 2 times in the world this season. As mentioned, since this is a semi and not final, although her time dipping beneath the JPN Olympic standard of 2:23.21 is a great indicator of where this athlete is at, it doesn’t render her a spot on the roster for Rio until she replicates the effort in a top 2 finish in finals.
Runner-up in the semi’s, Sakiko Shimizu, earned a time of 2:24.73 to improve upon her morning swim by just under 2 seconds. Shimizu missed out on making the Olympic team this year in the 200m IM, so she’s no doubt determined to make the most of her remaining opportunities to potentially earn a spot on the roster in this 200 breast event.
15-year-old Runa Imai won’t quit, however, claiming the 3rd seed in a solid mark of 2:24.85, less than a tenth behind Shimizu. The former National Record Holder and 2015 World Champion in the event, Kanako Watanabe, is also a threat not to be ignored, sitting comfortably as the 4th seed, laying in wait to pounce in the final.
- Kaneto, 2:21.05
- Shimizu, 2:24.73
- Imai, 2:24.85
- Watanabe, 2:25.27
- Suzuki, 2:25.72
- Ishida, 2:26.50
- Satou, 2:27.28
- Aoki, 2:27.67
MEN’S 200 IM
- Japanese National Record – 1:55.33, Kosuke Hagino (2014)
- JPN Olympic Standard – 1:58.02
An incredible 5 Japanese men are ranked within the world’s top 10 times so far this season, with only America’s 22-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps having swum faster….until tonight’s finals session that is.
In a time just .18 of a second off of American Ryan Lochte’s gold medal-winning time from last year’s World Championships, 21-year-old Kosuke Hagino simply dropped the hammer in tonight’s 200m IM semi-final. Hagino stunned the field with a time of 1:55.98, his best of the season by almost 2 seconds and easily the number one time in the world right now.
Hagino produced a super solid 1:58.88 in prelims, but crushed that time in finals tonight. In comparing the splits between the two initial swims in Tokyo for the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, it’s clear Hagino stepped hings up all around tonight, but especially maintained his higher tempo on the back half as opposed to his morning swim’s relative drop-off:
Hagino’s Prelim – 24.78/28.98/34.89/30.23 = 1:58.88
Hagino’s Semi – 24.43/28.58/34.06/28.91 = 1:55.98
The stud is already ranked as the world’s 4th-fastest performer of all time in the event with the 1:55.33 Japanese National Record he registered back in 2014. But, he has a chance to potentially bypass Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh on that list, needing to drop just .16 of a second to surpass Cseh’s 3rd-fastest result of all time, 1:55.18.
As for Hagino’s primary in-country rival, Daiya Seto, the time has now arrived for him to take things up to a new level in finals if he wants to survive the Rio-qualification test. Seto has been as fast as 1:57.72 so far this year, so the speed is certainly there. But he has two men named Fujimori, one Hiromasa and one Takeharu, hot on his heels, knocking down the door of the 2nd Olympic roster spot, assuming Hagino claims the 1st in tonight’s finals.
Seto, however, did have to leave some fuel in the tank for his 200m butterfly final later on this same session. Look for him to unleash his fury once he has this 200 IM as his solo finals session event.
- Hagino, 1:55.98
- Seto, 1:59.16
- H. Fujimori, 1:59.57
- T. Fujimori, 1:59.70
- Mizohata, 2:00.14
- Tutumi, 2:01.22
- Yamada, 2:01.50
- Takeuchi, 2:01.96
MEN’S 100 FREESTYLE – FINAL
- Japanese National Record – 48.41, Katsumi Nakamura (2015)
- JPN Olympic Standard – 48.16
- The Podium –
- Katsumi Nakamura, 48.25 (New National Record)
- Shinri Shioura, 48.35
- Kenji Kobase, 49.07
What a thriller! 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 record by more than a tenth and further establishes Japan as a rising sprinting hotbed in its extreme infancy.
Right behind Nakamura was Shinri Shioura, who also dipped beneath the previous national record with a stellar mark of 48.35. As with his semi swim, Shioura took the race out faster than Nakamura, firing off an opening 50 of 23.05, but he wasn’t able to hang on, which rendered him in the silver medal spot.
As fast as these men were relative to sprinting history in Japan, neither of the top 2 men were able to score a mark beneath the Japanese Olympic-qualifying standard of 48.16 during the race. Pending a subjective decision by the Japanese Swimming Federation, the nation is without male 100m freestyle representation in Rio at this point.
WOMEN’S 100 FREESTYLE – FINAL
- Japanese National Record – 53.99, Rikako Ikee (2016)
- JPN Olympic Standard – 53.81
- The Podium –
- Miki Uchida, 53.88 (New National Record)
- Rikako Ikee, 54.06
- Yayoi Matsumoto, 54.43
We got treated to another outstanding sprint final as the top 2 Japanese women battled it out from the start. Japanese 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. Ikee’s splits included 26.48/27.58 to score the runner-up spot tonight, taking her 3rd top-2 finish after having won the women’s 100m butterfly and 200m freestyle eventsearlier in the meet
As with the men, however, as fast as these females were, neither was able to clock a mark at or below the Japanese-dictated Olympic-qualifying standard of 53.81.
MEN’S 200 BUTTERFLY – FINAL
- Japanese National Record – 1:52.97, Takeshi Matsuda (2008)
- JPN Olympic Standard – 1:55.39
- The Podium –
- Daiya Seto, 1:54.14
- Masato Sakai, 1:54.21
- Nao Horomura, 1:55.98
Good news! This time, the top 2 finishers in an event both score times beneath the Japanese Olympic-qualifying standard. Daiya Seto, on a tough double after his 200m IM battle with Hagino earlier, soared to the top of the 200m butterfly podium tonight in a time of 1:54.14.
That time ranks as the number one performance in the world this season and makes it 2 individual events in Rio (so far) for Seto. He earlier qualified in the 400m IM. In that event, even though he finished 2nd to Hagino without a JPN Olympic standard, the JSF deemed his World Championship title worthy of securing a Rio roster spot in the race.
Runner-up tonight, Masato Sakai dropped a solid 3 tenths of a second off his semi swim of 1:54.57 to register a silver-winning time of 1:54.21 to also rack up an Olympic-qualifying mark. For 20-year-old Sakai, this marks his first Olympic appearance.
Of note, 31-year-old double Olympic bronze medalist Takeshi Matsuda finishes just off the podium with a 4th place time of 1:57.14.
MEN’S 200 BREASTSTROKE – FINAL
- Japanese National Record – 2:07.01*, Akihiro Yamaguchi (2012), *WR
- JPN Olympic Standard – 2:09.54
- The Podium –
- Yasuhiro Koseki, 2:08.14
- Ippei Watanabe, 2:09.45
- Hayato Watanabe, 2:09.91
For the 2nd event in a row, we saw the top 2 finishers fall under the stricter-than-FINA Olympic-qualifying times. Yasuhiro Koseki topped the field tonight in a time of 2:08.14 to overtake America’s Josh Prenot as the 2nd-fastest swimmer in the world this season.
Koseki didn’t particularly evenly split the race, taking his 200m out an incredibly fast 1:00.94 and coming home in 1:07.02. But, it was enough to hold off a charging Ippei Watanabe who scored the silver tonight in 2:09.45.
Of note, 33-year-old 4-time individual Olympic gold medalist Kosuke Kitajima finished 5th in a mark of 2:09.96. Earlier in the meet, Kitajima finished 2nd in the 100m breaststroke, but was only able to dip beneath that event’s Olympic-qualifying mark in the semi’s. The Japanese Swimming Federation would need to impose a subjective decision in order for Kitajima to make his historic 5th Olympic Games.