2018 Asian Games Day 2 Preview: Rikako Ikee Gunning for Double Glory


After China and Japan dominated the first two days of swimming at the 2018 Asian Games, and with a few exceptions, Monday should be a similar run.

The day’s events will include prelims and finals of the men’s  800 free, women’s 50 fly, men’s 50 back, women’s 100 free, men’s 200 IM, women’s 200 breast, men’s 800 free

Day 2 Storylines to watch:

  • Japanese 18-year old Rikako Ikee, the most exciting thing to happen to the nation’s swimming scene since Kosuke Hagino looked like he might become the next Michael Phelps, will take on two races: the 50 fly and 100 free. She’s the top seed and heavy favorite in both races. In the 50 fly, that’s by almost a full second (.99) ahead of #2 seed Wang Yichun. The 100 free sees an even bigger margin: Ikee is seeded 1st in 53.03, and China’s Yang Junxuan is 2nd in 54.26. So, Ikee might be racing the clock on Monday. In the 50 fly, that’s a race to join Sarah Sjostrom under the 25-second barrier. In the 100 free, it’s a race against her 53.60 relay leadoff from Sunday for the Asian Games Record in the race. She’s usually faster in individual races than in relays.
  • The China-Japan bloc might be rattled a little in the men’s 50 back. Xu Jiayu is the top seed in 24.57, and while he did win the 100 back, he wasn’t close to his best. The next 4 seeds are all from smaller Asian nations: Jiseok Kang from South Korea, I Gede Siman Sudartawa from Indonesia, Paul Nguyen from Vietnam, and Zheng Quah from Singapore. The 2014 silver medalist Ryosuke Irie is also lurking, and while his finishing speed on the 100 back on Sunday was off, his opening speed was on-par with his 2014 swim. That gives hope for a good 50. Three-time defending champion Junya Koga tested positive for a banned substance twice in March. No full sanction has been announced yet, but he’s not racing at this meet.
  • The 800 free is being raced at this meet for the first time since 1951 (the very first edition of the Asian Games, where Singapore’s Neo Chwee Kok won it as part of a four-gold-medal haul). His time was 11:02.2 (which even at the time was 91 seconds slower than the World Record). China’s Sun Yang is the top seed in the event at 7:48.87. Lately, the 800 has been as long as he goes, if even that far, but he’s entered in the 1500 free too (where he’s the World Record holder). There’s nobody in the field that’s in Sun’s class in the distance freestyles when he’s on form.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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