2018 Japan Swim: Reona Aoki Clocks New World #1 100 Breast


Swift swimming continued in Tokyo as the enormous domestic talent took to the Tatsumi International Swim Centre pool on day 3 of the 2018 Japan Swim, 1 of 2 qualifying meets for the Pan Pacific Championships. Tonight’s session included 5 semi-finals and 7 finals, which rendered 1 national record among them.

As reported, 26-year-old Yasuhiro Koseki topped the night off with a new national record in the men’s 50m breaststroke, clocking 27.12 to take the gold. That mark overtook the previous record of 27.17 by a narrow .05, but was enough to help redeem the recently suspended athlete  and give him his 2nd gold of the meet. He earned the 100m breaststroke gold in 59.30 after a 58.96 in semi’s.

Also winning a final this evening was 30-year-old Junya Koga, the man who earned silver already here in the 100m back behind teh seemingly ageless Ryosuke Irie. Koga fired off a winning time of 24.56 to easily take his 9th Japan Swim title in this back splash n’ dash, recording the only sub-25 second time of the entire field.

In the men’s 200m freestyle final, Katsuhiro Matsumoto took advantage of national record holder Kosuke Hagino having bowed out of this event. 

Hagino owns the 200m freestyle national record in 1:45.23, the time he clocked to take gold at the 2014 Asian Games and tonight Matsumoto came within .70 of that outing. His time of 1:45.93 comes within striking distance of the record, but also easily clears the 1:46.44 minimum qualification standard imposed by Japan to make the Pan Pacific Championships roster.

Matsumoto’s time tonight also check-in as a huge personal best, overtaking his old career-fastest of 1:47.42 lead-off on Japan’s non-medal winning 4x200m freestyle relay at the 2017 World University Games in Taipei.

Keeping pace with Matsumoto was tonight’s runner-up Naito Ehara, the man who topped Hagino the 400m freestyle on night 1 here in Tokyo. Ehara’s silver medal-garnering time of 1:46.35 also clears the Pan Pac-qualifying standard and marks the first time Ehara has been under 1:47 in the event.

The pair now sit among the top 5 in the world in this event this season, surrounded by exclusive company in the form of China’s Sun Yang and Australia’s Kyle Chalmers.

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The women’s edition of the 200m freestyle saw Chihiro Igarashi produce the fastest effort of the night, barely holding off a charging Yui Ohashi. The pair was separated by just .24, with Igarashi touching first in 1:57.73 to Ohashi’s 1:57.97. Tomomi Aoki rounded out the top 3 in 1:58.14. However, none of the women were able to clear the 1:56.94 qualifying mark for Pan Pacs.

National record holder Rikako Ikee opted out of competing in the 200m freestyle, but there was a teen amid the top 8 in Nagisa Ikemoto. The young athlete born in 2001 settled for a respectable 6th place in 1:59.63 as one to keep an eye on.

Anna Konishi did get the job done in the women’s 100m backstroke in terms of qualifying for Pan Pacs, however, winning the race in 59.62. She was 1 of 2 women to dip under the minute barrier, with Natsumi Sakai nabbing silver in 59.83. For Konishi, her time falls under the 59.58 QT and she should be selected to compete in Tokyo later this summer.

Reona Aoki churned out a new personal best to top the women’s 100m breaststroke field tonight. The 23-year-old crushed a winning mark of 1:05.90 to narrowly miss clocking a new national record, missing Kanako Watanabe’s 1:05.88 NR by just .02. For Aoki, her outing tonight lays waste to the 1:07.43 produced in Budapest last year, a time that rendered her out of the final.

Her mark tonight also dips under the 1:06.48 Pan Pac qualifying time, as well as bumps her up to the #1 spot in the world as the only swimmer under 1:06 so far this season.

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Taking the men’s 1500m tonight was Syogo Takeda, who finished in 14:55.42. Leading the field, Takeda’s time wound up less than a second off of the national record of 14:54.80.

In semi-final action, Hagino proved that dropping the 200m free may have been to his benefit as planned, as the Olympic champion notched the fastest 200m IM time of the night. Touching in 1:57.70, Hagino was more than a second ahead of domestic rival Daiya Seto, who claimed the 2nd seed in 1:58.58. The top 6 men were all under the 2:00 threshold, speaking to the depth Japan has in this sprint IM event.

Seto was back in the pool for the 200m butterfly where the soon-to-be new dad earned the 2nd seed in a solid 1:55.77. Toping the semi-final was Yuya Yajima, who earned a mark of 1:55.67. Olympic silver medalist Masato Sakai is still lurking, moving into the final as the 4th seeded swimmer in 1:56.31.

The women’s 200m IM saw Yui Ohashi establish herself as the woman to beat with her semi time of 2:11.36, although Miho Teramura clocked a mark just .20 behind her. Sakiko Shimizu is also ready to rumble as the 3rd seed in 2:11.79.

Teen star Rikako Ikee is gunning for her 2nd national record of the meet after producing a wicked-fast new NR in the 100m fly. Tonight she sprinted to a smooth 24.75 to represent the only 50m freestyle swimmer to dip under the 25 second barrier.

The anything-can-happen duel between former national record holder Shinri Shioura and newly-minted national record holder Katsumi Nakamura was taken up a notch in the 50m freestyle tonight. Shioura finished head of Nakamura in 22.01 to 22.10, but a battle no doubt awaits in tomorrow night’s final.

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Just Sayin

Why is there a picture of Katie Meili for Molly Hannis

Mt Raining Rainier

Your 100 BR women’s ranking chart does not list Aoki with her new 1:05.90.

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