2016 Japanese Olympic Trials Day 5 Prelims Live Recap

2016 JAPAN SWIM (JAPANESE OLYMPIC TRIALS)

MEN’S 200 BACKSTROKE

  • 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 prelims to semi’s to finals.

2015-2016 LCM Men 200 BACK

MitchellAUS
LARKIN
11/07
1.53.17
2Ryan
MURPHY
USA1.53.6208/11
3Evgeny
RYLOV
RUS1.53.9708/11
4Jacob
PEBLEY
USA1.54.7707/01
5Jiayu
XU
CHN1.54.7904/08
6Tyler
CLARY
USA1.55.3307/01
7Irie
RYOSUKE
JPN1.55.4202/13
8Sean
LEHANE
USA1.55.5607/23
9Guangyuan
LI
CHN1.55.8908/11
10Radolslaw
KAWECKI
POL1.55.9805/21
View Top 26»

Everyone played it safe this morning to get started, with the top 4 swimmers hovering around the 1:57-1:58 span.  20-year-old Keita Sunama led the charge with his mark of 1:57.12, a time right near the 1:57.10 he already clocked in February at the Japanese Intercollegiate Championships. Sunama finished 6th overall at this same meet last year, earning a time of 2:00.01, so the athlete has already vastly improved during just the first round of competition.

Multi-Olympic medalist and 2016 100m backstroke Olympic qualifier Ryosuke Irie clocked a 1:57.31 to sit in his familiar surroundings in the upper tier of prelim swimmers, while Yuki Shirai earned a time less than a second behind in 1:57.76. For Irie, he’s been as fast as 1:55.42 already this year, so look for the Japanese National Record Holder to drop more time in semi’s en route to surpassing the 1:56.79 JPN Olympic standard.

Top 8:

  1. Sunama, 1:57.12
  2. Irie, 1:57.31
  3. Shirai, 1:57.76
  4. Matsubara, 1:58.79
  5. Watanabe, 2:00.26
  6. Hotta, 2:00.47
  7. Nishimura, 2:00.91
  8. Kaneko, 2:01.02

WOMEN’S 200 BREASTSTROKE

  • 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 2:10.04 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.

2015-2016 LCM Women 200 BREAST

RieJPN
KANETO
04/09
2.19.65
2Yulia
EFIMOVA
RUS2.21.4103/04
3Taylor
McKEOWN
AUS2.21.4504/12
4Rikke
PEDERSEN
DEN2.21.6905/20
5Jinglin
SHI
CHN2.22.2808/11
6Molly
RENSHAW
GBR2.22.3308/10
7Chloe
TUTTON
GBR2.22.3404/13
8Kanako
WATANABE
JPN2.22.4109/03
9Jessica
VALL MONTERO
ESP2:22.5605/20
10Viktoria
ZEYNEP GUNES
TUR2.22.8711/07
View Top 26»

In this morning’s race, Kaneto produced a smooth and controlled 2:24.05 to claim the top seed by over 2 full seconds, followed by IM specialist Sakiko Shimizu, who scored a time of 2:26.51.

The reigning World Champion in the event, 19-year-old Kanako Watanabe, is right in the mix, collecting a time of 2:27.15 for the 3rd seed headed into finals. Since winning the world title in a time of 2:21.15, Watanabe has been as fast as 2:22.41 at the Japanese Intercollegiate Championships earlier this year and will have no problem fighting to defend her title from this same meet in 2015 where she won in 2:20.90.

Teenager Imai, who already qualified for Rio in the women’s 200m IM yesterday, is lurking as the 4th seed after prelims, touching in 2:27.76. We know of what this youngster is capable, as she already earned a time of 2:23.43 at the World Cup in Dubai. In fact, it was this same meet last year at which Imai registered the World Junior Record of 2:23.55 in the event to earn bronze. So the question is simply when the 15-year-old will choose to unleash her talent to try to add herself to the Rio roster in a 2nd individual event.

Top 8:

  1. Kaneto, 2:24.05
  2. Shimizu, 2:26.51
  3. Watanabe, 2:27.15
  4. Imai, 2:27.76
  5. Aoki, 2:27.82
  6. Sekiguchi, 2:27.91
  7. Saitou, 2:27.95
  8. Kuroiwa, 2:28.34

MEN’S 200 IM

  • Japanese National Record – 1:55.33, Kosuke Hagino (2014)
  • JPN Olympic Standard – 1:58.02

If we thought the Japanese men had a head start on the world owning 4 of top 10 times in the 200m backstroke, they take things up to an even higher level in the sprint IM event. 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.

The fact that 5 sub-1:59-second 200 IMers call Japan home only means it will be an absolute dogfight to claim the 2 spots available on the Rio roster. The 2 men that have domestically been battling back and forth the past 2 years are dynamic Kosuke Hagino and his partner in IM crime Daiya Seto.

The fact that the two are separated by just .01 of a second in the world rankings further exemplifies just how intense this rivalry is, yet how the head-to-head competition has raised their games enough to talk of a possible double podium appearance in Rio.

2015-2016 LCM Men 200 IM

MichaelUSA
PHELPS
08/11
1.54.66
2Kosuke
HAGINO
JPN1.55.0704/08
3Ryan
LOCHTE
USA1.56.2207/01
4Shun
WANG
CHN1.57.0508/11
5Thiago
PEREIRA
BRA1.57.1108/10
6Philip
HEINTZ
GER1.57.4808/11
7Hiromasa
FUJIMORI
JPN1.57.5704/09
8Daiya
SETO
JPN1.57.7209/03
9Henrique
RODRIGUES
BRA1.57.9104/19
10Thomas
FRASER-HOLMES
AUS1.57.9204/11
View Top 26»

Both studs already qualified for the 2016 Olympics in the 400m IM event and are gunning for the same result in this shorter distance. Hagino threw down an impressive 1:58.88 to top the prelims, while Seto registered a still-solid 1:59.40 to land himself a lane right beside the 21-year-old 400m IM Olympic bronze medalist.

A comparison of the two men’s morning splits reveal an opposite strategy, where Hagino took it out faster the first half, while Seto turned on the jets to catch the leader and fall within a second of him at the end.

Hagino – 24.78/28.98/34.89/30.23 = 1:58.88
Seto – 25.52/30.90/33.59/29.39 = 1:59.40

3rd seed Hiromasa Fujimori is still very much in the conversation for a relay spot, sitting just .39 of a second behind Seto. Fujimori also owns a sub-1:58 mark with the 1:57.66 he scored in Perth, so he very well may be the one to spoil the potential Hagino/Seto parade.

Top 8:

  1. Hagino, 1:58.88
  2. Seto, 1:59.40
  3. H. Fujimori, 1:59.79
  4. T. Fujimori, 2:00.53
  5. Tutumi, 2:01.38
  6. Yamada, 2:01.47
  7. Mizohata, 2:01.87
  8. Kawakami, 2:02.52

WOMEN’S 800 FREESTYLE

  • Japanese National Record – 8:23.68, Sachiko Yamada (2004)
  • JPN Olympic Standard – 8:25.86

And the women conclude the morning session with one of its weaker events, the 800m freestyle. Miho Takahashi led the field with a time of 8:41.85, followed by 20-year-old Yuna Kikuchi‘s mark of 8:42.62. The women have quite a gap to conquer to get in the realm of 8:25.86, the Japanese Olympic standard in the event.

Last year it took 8:33.71 to win the women’s 800m free, a time which was thrown down by Chinatsu Satou. However, Satou couldn’t muster up the same speed in today’s prelims and found herself in 9th place overall and out of the next round by just .03 of a second. (8:48.05)

Top 8:

  1. Takahashi, 8:41.85
  2. Kikuchi, 8:42.62
  3. Chida, 8:43.29
  4. Iwanaga, 8:43.65
  5. Wada, 8:44.06
  6. Gotou, 8:45.09
  7. Kusakabe, 8:46.85
  8. Hamada, 8:48.02

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About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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