2021 Japanese Olympic Trials Day 6 Finals Live Recap



JPN National Record – 52.79, Rikako Ikee 2018
JPN Olympic Qualifying Time – 53.31

GOLD – Rikako Ikee, 53.98
SILVER – Natsumi Sakai, 54.32
BRONZE – Chihiro Igarashi, 54.33

In another display of determination and mental fortitude, 20-year-old leukemia survivor Rikako Ikee took her second title at these Olympic Trials, adding the 100m free to her 100m fly gold from earlier in the meet.

Clocking a time of 53.98, Ikee represented the only swimmer of this 1free field to get under 54 seconds. Although she was off the 53.31 individual Olympic qualifying standard set forth by the Japanese Swimming Federation (JASF), Ikee has proven once again that she is a fighter, making her 2nd relay squad.

Along with runner-up Natsumi Sakai (54.32), bronze medalist Chihiro Igarashi (54.33), and 4th place finisher Rika Omoto (54.36), all 4 women combined to earn a collective 400m free relay mark of 3:36.99. That dips under the JASF-mandated relay minimum mark of 3:37.68.

Ikee still has the 50m free individual race yet to swim here at this meet.


JPN National Record – 1:52.51, Ryosuke Irie 2009
JPN Olympic Qualifying Time – 1:57.26

GOLD – Ryosuke Irie, 1:55.52 Olympic Qualifying
SILVER – Keita Sunama, 1:56.22 Olympic Qualifying
BRONZE – Masato Sakai, 1:57.20*

Backstroke master Ryosuke Irie has successfully qualified for his 4th Olympic Games as the 31-year-old clinched the 200m backstroke title here in a time of 1:55.52.

Splitting 56.18/59.34, the national record holder easily cleared the JASF-dictated time standard of 1:57.26 needed to represent the nation at a home-based Games. The man who owns a lifetime best of 1:52.51 beat the next-closest swimmer, Keita Sunamaby over half a second, although Sunama, too, earned an Olympic berth with a time of 1:56.22.

Irie remains as the world’s #2 swimmer this season behind China’s Xu Jiayu, with tonight’s effort shaving .03 off of Irie’s previous season-best of 1:55.55 from December.

2020-2021 LCM Men 200 Back

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Of note, 200m fly silver medalist from the 2016 Olympic Games, Masato Sakai, rounded out the top 3 in this 2back race, hitting 1:57.20.


JPN National Record – 2:19.65, Rie Kaneto 2016
JPN Olympic Qualifying Time – 2:24.18

GOLD – Kanako Watanabe, 2:23.04 Olympic Qualifying
SILVER – Reona Aoki, 2:25.04
BRONZE – Nana Sogabe, 2:25.07

Just one woman was able to make it under the 2:24.18 Olympic QT in Kanako Watanabe. Watanabe led the packed field down the stretch to ultimately get to the wall in 2:23.04, winning the race by exactly 2 seconds.

Opening in 1:09.16 and closing in 1:03.88, Watanabe’s 2:23.04 bumps the 24-year-old to now rank 5th in the world this season. Although she’s been as fast as 2:20.90 in her career from 2015, Watanabe’s time here was nearly exactly what she put up in Jakarta to take gold at the 2018 Asian Games. There she was 2:23.05.

2020-2021 LCM Women 200 Breast

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JPN National Record – 1:55.07, Kosuke Hagino 2016
JPN Olympic Qualifying Time – 1:57.98

GOLD – Daiya Seto, 1:57.41 *Pre-Qualified Already
SILVER – Kosuke Hagino, 1:57.43 Olympic Qualifying
BRONZE – Syuya Matsumoto, 1:58.84

Going all-in on the men’s 200m IM paid off for multi-Olympic medalist Kosuke Hagino, as the 26-year-old sealed his Olympic berth by finishing just .02 behind already-qualified Daiya Seto.

By way of claiming gold in the 200m IM and 400m IM at the 2019 FINA World Championships, Seto pre-qualified for the Japanese roster in those events, putting extra pressure on the remaining competitors here in Tokyo to fight for the one remaining spot.

Hagino was originally entered in the 400m IM and 200m back here at these Trials after already having clinched his Olympic berth as a member of the men’s 200m free. Instead, he dropped those races to focus solely on this 200m IM and, although the time was not exactly spectacular by his standards, the Bridgestone swimmer got the job done to qualify.



JPN National Record – 51.00, Kohei Kawamoto 2009
JPN Olympic Qualifying Time – 51.70

The men’s 100m fly prelim this morning saw a remarkable twelve men separated by just one second, giving a testament to how deep this field is and how down-to-the-wire we expect tomorrow night’s final to be.

Getting to that round will be Takeshi Kawamoto, the 26-year-old on-fire ISL swimmer who just tied the long-standing Japanese national record in this 1fly event. Splitting 23.55/27.45, Kawamoto got his hand on the wall in a massive 51.00, matching what Kohei Kawamoto put up in the supersuit era.

Kawamoto had been close to that record before, owning a lifetime best of 51.11 from September of 2019. Look for a follow-up post with more details on Kawamoto’s record.

Also already getting under the JASF-dictated Olympic qualifying time was 2nd seeded swimmer Naoki Mizunuma. Mizunuma posted a mark of 51.35 to come within .01 of his own lifetime best of 51.34 from just this past February.

Others in the mix include Katsuo Matsumoto, the man who already nailed a new 200m free national record here, as well as Shinnosuke Ishikawa.

Top 8:

  1. Takeshi Kawamoto, 51.00 *National Record
  2. Naoki Mizunuma, 51.35
  3. Katsuo Matsumoto, 51.92
  4. Shinnosuke Ishikawa, 51.97
  5. Yuya Tanaka, 52.07
  6. Yuki Kobori, 52.15
  7. Kota Akahane, 52.22
  8. Takaya Yasue, 52.43



JPN National Record – 2:07.13, Reiko Nakamura 2008
JPN Olympic Qualifying Time – 2:09.40

The women will have their work cut out for them in the 200m back if anyone wants to punch a ticket to Tokyo in what has been a weak discipline for this side of Japan’s swimming house the past couple of years.

2:09.40 is the time they’ll need to beat tomorrow, with Anna Konishi charging into lane 4 to try the feat on for size. Konishi clocked 2:11.58, while Marina Kobayashi and Akase Akaya will flank her with respective semifinal swims of 2:12.02 and 2:12.82, respectively.

Top 8:

  1. Anna Konishi, 2:11.58
  2. Marina Kobayashi, 2:12.02
  3. Akase Ayaka, 2:12.82
  4. Mataki Kanto, 2:13.07
  5. Nana Morita, 2:14.14
  6. Natsumi Sakai, 2:14.17
  7. Rumi Ishida, 2:14.36
  8. Maho Sekiguchi, 2:14.39


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tea rex
3 years ago

Any relation between Kohei Kawamoto and Takeshi Kawamoto, the now co-holders of the NR?

Reply to  tea rex
3 years ago

These 2 just coincidently have the same family name. No relation at all.

Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

Man, that men’s 200 IM was surprisingly slow.

Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

Agreed, but part of me wonders if Seto paced Hagino by design.

Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
3 years ago

especially for one taking aim at Phelps 400im record soon

Corn Pop
3 years ago

i remember seeing 13 year old Kanako Watanabe going 2.23.8 at NSW champs.You know, she could have stuck with 2-3 kms a day & still done this 2.23. 11years later. Good & bad about swimming : you don’t necessarily improve from 13 / the sport is really not getting out of reach & there is hope for the13 year olds on 2.43.

3 years ago

200 Back men season 2021 Luke Greenbank: 1:55,34 (British Swimming Invitation Meet 2021)

3 years ago

I have a question about the Japanese qualification process. If Ikee is already going to the olympics on 2 relays, will she able to swim the individual evens or will they still not let her?

Reply to  Retta Race
3 years ago

Given the Japanese public ill will towards the games, I think JASF might find the organising committee strongly hint she be permitted to swim.

Makes sense from a swimming perspective too, the reasons she could drop time quicker than most are blindingly obvious.

3 years ago

The level is so high that you may not be able to become a representative unless you put out the 50-second range.

Reply to  dddd
3 years ago

100m fly Japanese records stands at 51.00, I cant really see more than 2 men breaking it here

Reply to  Mclovin
3 years ago

As you can see from the semi-final race video, Kawamoto and Mizunuma had plenty of time to race despite this time. It seems likely that these two will be in the 50 second range.

3 years ago

Way to go Rikako!!

3 years ago

My god that Hagino/Seto race was close. So glad hagino made that insane qualifying time cut; really rooting hard for him to win this year after his battle with depression.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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