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
- Live Stream (Prelims)
MEN’S 100 FREESTYLE – PRELIMS
- Japanese National Record – 48.41, Katsumi Nakamura (2015)
- JPN Olympic Standard – 48.16
No one was under the 49-second mark in this initial men’s 100m freestyle race, but we saw 12 swimmers dip beneath the 50-second mark. Compare that to this same meet from last year where just 3 individuals came away from prelims with a 49-point swim.
Leading the way this morning was last year’s 100m freestyle title runner-up, 24-year-old Shinri Shioura. Shioura wound up earning silver last year in 48.86, but kicked off his 2016 quest with an AM swim of 49.05. Not too far behind was the Japanese National Record Holder, Katsumi Nakamura, who registered a solid 49.24 to get things started. He won gold at this same meet last year in 48.78 and has been as fast as 48.41, his NR.
Of note, this is the 2nd event in which the Japanese Olympic standard (48.16) is faster than the current Japanese National Record (48.41). The other event in which we saw this scenario was the women’s 200m freestyle.
- Shioura, 49.05
- Nakamura, 49.24
- Nanba, 49.45
- Sakata, 49.60
- Kobase, 49.78
- Ehara, 49.80
- Harada, 49.84
- Maruyama 49.94
WOMEN’S 100 FREESTYLE – PRELIMS
- Japanese National Record – 53.99, Rikako Ikee (2016)
- JPN Olympic Standard – 53.81
The women were fairly tame this morning, with just one swimmer clocking a time beneath the 55-second threshold. Miki Uchida won this event in 54.15 last year and has already been as fast as 54.24 at the World Cup Tokyo last fall. That latter time sits within the world’s top 25.
Almost a second behind was 25-year-old Yayoi Matsumoto in 55.75, the runner-up from last year. In the 2015 version of the meet Matsumoto clocked a time of 54.34 to old off a then-14-year-old Rikako Ikee who claimed bronze.
Speaking of Rikako Ikee, she is the one to watch in this race, as she scored a new National Record at the Kosuke Kitajima Cup just this past January. Her stellar time of 53.99 at just 15 years old holds extra significance as Ikee marked the first occasion a Japanese woman dipped under 55 seconds in the event. She laid low in this prelim swim, touching in just 56.04 for the 6th seed, but look for Ikee to progressively get quicker during semi’s and ultimately finals.
- Uchida, 54.94
- Matsumoto, 55.75
- Igarashi, 55.78
- Yamaguchi, 55.90
- Satou, 56.00
- Ikee, 56.05
- Aoki, 56.14
- Yamane 56.30
MEN’S 200 BUTTERFLY – PRELIMS
- Japanese National Record – 1:52.97, Takeshi Matsuda (2008)
- JPN Olympic Standard – 1:55.39
The men came out swinging in the 200m butterfly prelims, as one swimmer already earned a time beneath the Japanese Olympic qualifying-standard. The standard, which must be met in finals in combination of placing 1st or 2nd in that same final, sits at 1:55.39, but Masato Sakai touched in 1:55.37 to beat it by .02 of a second. He’ll need to make it through semi’s and then repeat that caliber of performance come the final in order to qualify for Rio.
For Sakai, that feat shouldn’t prove too difficult as the 20-year-old finished just out of the medals in 4th place at last summer’s World Championships, claiming a best time of 1:54.24 in the process. Sakai already owns the top time this season in the world in the form of the 1:54.57 he scored at the Tokyo Intercollegiate Championships last September.
The reigning 400m IM World Champion, Daiya Seto, touched just off the qualifying mark, earning a runner-up seed in 1:55.63. Seto is Sakai’s most potent threat, positioned just behind him the world rankings with the 1:55.33 Seto clocked at the Kosuke Kitajima Cup this January. That, paired with the fact that Seto wound up 6th in Kazan (1:55.16), most likely motivates Seto to outdo his countrymate and punch his ticket to Rio.
Veteran Takeshi Matsuda, the national record holder in this event, is lurking too, claiming the 10th spot in 1:58.32.
- Sakai, 1:55.37
- Seto, 1:55.63
- Yajima, 1:56.29
- Horomura, 1:57.40
- Terada, 1:57.77
- Itou, 1:58.01
- Hirai, 1:58.11
- Watarai, 1:58.19
MEN’S 200 BREASTSTROKE – PRELIMS
- Japanese National Record – 2:07.01*, Akihiro Yamaguchi (2012), *WR
- JPN Olympic Standard – 2:09.54
As with the men’s 200m butterfly, one athlete crushed a morning 200m breaststroke swim faster than the Japanese Olympic standard. Ippei Watanabe raced to the wall for the top seed of 2:08.83, over half of a second beneath the qualifying mark of 2:09.54. The Japanese qualifying procedures dictate that Watanbe will ned to perform this same feat in finals, while also claiming the 1st or 2nd place in the final in order to punch his ticket to Rio.
This morning’s outing represents Watanabe’s season best, surpassing his previous time of 2:09.40 from the Kosuke Kitajima Cup this past January. His prelim swim now registers as the 3rd-fastest in the world this season.
Also in contention for a final spot is Yasuhiro Koseki, the man who finished 3rd overall out of the morning race. Koseki, whose best time this season sits at 2:08.65, collected a mark of 2:10.43 to be positioned nicely into the semi-final.
Two others to watch into the semi-final are Kazuki Kohinata and Kosuke Kitajima. For Kohinata, his mark of 2:09.03 from the Japanese Intercollegiate Championships ranks as the 4th-fastest time in the world, so he’s proven he can go sub-2:10.
Although Kitajima surpassed the Japanese Rio-qualifying mark in the 100m breaststroke event, he did so in semi’s, so he fell short of a spot on the Olympic roster in that event. The 33-year-old will no doubt be looking to swim as fast as possible in this 200m breaststroke as his last hope of earning a 5th Olympic bid in an individual event.
Missing the semi-final, however, is Akihiro Yamaguchi, the World Record Holder in the event. Yamaguchi clocked the current WR of 2:07.01 back in 2012, but simply hasn’t produced near that level of performance since. He wound up 19th out of this morning’s swim, touching in a time of 2:13.11.
- I. Watanabe, 2:08.83
- Ikeshita, 2:10.08
- Koseki, 2:10.43
- H. Watanabe, 2:10.57
- Tateishi, 2:10.85
- Ohkubo, 2:10.96
- Kitajima, 2:11.18
- Ohkawa, 2:11.35