2018 Asian Games: A Story Of Sweeps Helps Japan Top Overall Medals


This year’s edition of the prestigious quadrennial Asian Games concluded in Jakarta, Indonesia, ending with a thrilling showdown between Japan and China in the men’s 4 x 100m medley relay. China wound up on top in a new Asian Games and Asian continental record,  but the race represented the tightly fought battle between the 2 powerhouse nations throughout this 6-day swimming competition.

Japan ultimately wound up on top of the overall medal table, collecting an impressive 52 medals in all. 19 golds laid waste to Japan’s gold total of 12 from 2014, while the nation also picked up 20 silver and 13 bronze in Jakarta. For China’s part, they, too, surpassed the 2014 results with a total of 50 medals all-told. 19 of those were gold, 17 were silver and 14 were bronze.

We saw an entirely new nation slide into the 3rd spot in the medal table, however, as Joseph Schooling helped Singapore round out the top 3 countries. Last time around, it was Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Balandin‘s breaststroke sweep that put 3 golds in that nation’s column. But, as Balandin earned just 2 bronze medals in Jakarta, along with a bronze by teammate Adilbek Mussin in the 50m fly, Kazakhstan could not keep up with their emerging competitor that is Singapore.

For Singapore, the aforementioned Schooling accounted for 2 individual gold medals in the form of the men’s 50m and 100m butterfly, while he also took bronze prizes as a member of his nation’s 4 x 100m and 4 x 200m freestyle relays. National record holder Roanne Ho claimed 50m breaststroke silver, while the women’s 4 x 100m medley relay snatched surprise bronze after seeing both China and South Korea disqualified in the final.

Japan and China wreaked havoc on the medal table via a series of incredible event sweeps by both its men’s and women’s squads. Olympic icon Sun Yang took home golds for China across the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m events, while teammate Xu Jiayu shut out rival Ryosuke Irie in all 3 backstroke races. As consolation Irie settled for a silver sweep in the 50m/100m/200m back. Freestyle teen ace Wang Jianjiahe wrangled up a trio of golds across the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle races as well, defeating domestic rival Li Bingjie, who mustered a gold in the 200m free event.

China even snagged a shock world record in the form of Liu Xiang‘s sub-27 50m backstroke victory, where she topped the field with the fastest time ever of 26.98.

Japan’s golden girl, teen Rikako Ikee was able to top the podium in a sprint free and fly sweep, including the 50m and 100m freestyle, along with the 50m and 100m butterfly.  She was also a critical member of Japan’s winning 4 x 100m freestyle and 4 x 100m medley relays. Ikee collected silver on the women’s 4 x 200m freestyle relay and also on the mixed 4 x 100m medley, which made its Asian Games debut here in Jakarta.

Yasuhiro Koseki also got the job done across all 3 breaststroke events to wrap up 3 gold medals, while Daiya Seto took 2 individual titles; one in the 400m IM and one in the 200m fly.

Monumental final night Asian Games milestones included Ikee becoming just the 2nd athlete across any sport to win 6 gold medals at one Asian Games while also tying the record for the most medals at a Games. Wang of China became the first woman to win both the 400m and 800m free double since Chen Hua back in 1998, while Sun’s 1500m victory gave him the nod as the first Chinese man to win the same individual swimming event 3 times.

With Kim Seoyeong‘s victory over Japan’s Yui Ohashi in the women 20m IM, the Korean put an end to China’s 7 consecutive gold medal streak. In fact, Kim became just the 2nd gold medal winner in swimming ever.

2018 Asian Games Final Swimming Medal Table:

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Japan 19 20 13 52
2  China 19 17 14 50
3  Singapore 2 1 3 6
4  South Korea 1 1 4 6
5  Hong Kong 0 1 2 3
6  Vietnam 0 1 1 2
7  Kazakhstan 0 0 3 3
Total 41 41 41 123


2014 Asian Games Final Swimming Medal Table:

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  China 22 12 13 47
2  Japan 12 21 13 46
3  Kazakhstan 3 2 0 5
4  Singapore 1 2 3 6
5  South Korea 0 1 1 2
6  Hong Kong 0 0 4 4
7  Vietnam 0 0 2 2
8  India 0 0 1 1
 Uzbekistan 0 0 1 1
Total 38 38 38 114

Day 6 Records Broken:

  • Asian Games Record, W. 50 free, Rikako Ikee (JPN) – 24.87
  • Uzbekistani National Record, M. 50 breast, Vladislav Mustafin – 27.41
  • Macanese National Record, M. 50 breast, Chao Man Hou – 27.91
  • Indonesian National Record, M. 1500 free, Aflah Fadlan Prawira – 15:24.59
  • Korean National Record & Asian Games Record, W. 200 IM, Kim Seoyeong – 2:08.34
  • Chinese National Record, M. 4 x 100 medley – 3:29.99
  • Japanese National Record, M. 4 x 100 medley – 3:30.03
  • Kazakhstani National Record, M. 4 x 100 medley – 3:35.62
  • Indonesian National Record, M. 4 x 100 medley – 3:38.18
  • Chinese Taipei National Record, M. 4 x 100 medley – 3:41.52
  • Hong Kong National Record, M. 4 x 100 medley – 3:44.61
  • Asian Games Record, M. 50 breast, Yan Zibei (CHN), prelims – 27.06
  • Asian Games Record, W. 400 free, Wang Jianjiahe (CHN) – 4:03.18

Day 6 Medalists:







  • GOLD: China- 3:29.99
  • SILVER: Japan – 3:30.03
  • BRONZE: Kazakhstan – 3:35.62

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Good showing by Team Japan. As of today, 19 of Japan’s 29 total golds come from swimming, comparing to China’s 19/66. Good to see Korea’s only gold in 200IM.

25 free champ

Capitalism beats communism yet again! GO JAPAN!


I have a feeling that you don’t have a slightest idea of the meaning of the words you are using in your statement.

25 free champ

Is Japan a capitalist country? Is China a communist country? You were probably rooting for the Russians during the Miracle on Ice weren’t you?


Just a few months ago I heard a nice PBS podcast dedicated to the 200th birthday of Karl Marx who wrote “The Communist Manifesto” and “Das Kapital”. The things are a little bit more complicated than it has been presented by mass propaganda of any kind.
I was too young at that time to root for anything.


Chinese swimming has regressed. Not too long ago they were clearly the number 2 swimming nation. As it stands, I would say the national rankings are as follows: USA(1 – by a long way), Australia(2), Japan(3), China(4), Russia(5), Italy(6), Great Britain(7),
Hungary(8), Canada(9), Germany(10).

Bear drinks beer

Why is Great Britain behind Italy? They won much more golds and medals at the European championships. Russia is clearly better than Japan. They rank first in the world in 5 events (Japan only 3, and one of them didn’t transfer into Asian Games gold).

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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