2021 Japanese Olympic Trials Day 2 Live Recap



JPN National Record – 56.08, Rikako Ikee 2018
JPN Olympic Qualifying Time -57.10

GOLD – Rikako Ikee, 57.77
SILVER – Suzuka Hasegawa, 58.18
BRONZE – Iizuka Chiharu, 58.26

In a remarkable feat, 20-year-old leukemia survivor Rikako Ikee raced her way to the top of the podium tonight in this women’s 100m butterfly final. Stopping the clock in a time of 57.77, Ikee beat the next-closest competitor, fellow Olympian Suzuka Hasegawa by nearly half a second with Hasegawa settling for silver in 58.18.

Ripping an opening 50m of 26.98, Ikee closed in 30.79 to take the meet title. Although her outing here falls short of the stiff 57.10 Japanese Swimming Federation (JASF)-mandated standard for Olympic qualification, her triumph here in this 1fly bodes well for her additional Olympic events of the 100m free and 50m free.

Additionally, her victory in this fly event most likely slots Ikee onto the Japanese women’s medley relay for the Olympic Games, with the star beating the 57.92 minimum relay qualification time.  Although we will await the official JASF roster announcement, it appears Ikee has indeed qualified for her 2nd Olympic Games.


JPN National Record – 58.78, Yasuhiro Koseki 2018
JPN Olympic Qualifying Time – 59.21

GOLD – Shoma Sato, 59.30
SILVER – Ryuya Mura, 59.55
BRONZE – Ippei Watanabe, 59.77

Although the top 5 finishers in this men’s 100m breaststroke were all under the minute barrier, none was able to dip underneath the JASF-mandated Olympic-qualifying mark of 59.21.

Led by top-seeded Shoma Sato‘s time of 59.30, the final on the whole was on the slow side given these are the Olympic Trials, even with that number of sub-minute outings. Sato, for instance, took things out sluggishly, clocking just 28.30 on the front half before running out of room to match his 59.18 from last night. Although 59.30 is still an elite time, it misses the Tokyo-qualifying mark of 59.21, a barrier his aforementioned outing cleared in last night’s semi-final.

Ryuya Mura checked in with 59.55 for silver while Ippei Watanabe rounded out the top 3 in 59.77. Of note, Olympian Yasuhiro Koseki wound up 7th in 1:00.11.

As with Ikee, although he missed individual qualification in this event, Sato’s victory beat the 59.93 required to represent Japan on the men’s medley relay.


JPN National Record – Ai Shibata, 4:05.19 2007
JPN Olympic Qualifying Time – 4:07.10

GOLD – Waka Kobori, 4:06.34 Olympic Qualifier
SILVER – Miyu Namba, 4:06.36 Olympic Qualifier
BRONZE – Chinatsu Sato, 4:10.57

A thrilling battle to the wall rendered two individual Olympic qualifiers in tonight’s women’s 400m freestyle event. After leading the race through nearly the 350m mark, 18-year-old Miyu Namba saw teammate Waka Kobori surge by a fingernail to take the gold in 4:06.34 to Namba’s 4:06.36.

20-year-old Kobori, who swims for Nihon University, set a new University Record with her 4:06.34 scorcher, also while dipping under the JASF-dictated Olympic qualification standard of 4:07.10. Namba accomplished the same feat, meaning we’ll see two Japanese women’s 400m free contenders in Rio.

You can see how the dual went down via splits here:

The women also now check-in as Japan’s 3rd and 4th fastest performers all-time while also cracking the season’s world rankings, with Kobori as #5 and Namba as #6.

2020-2021 LCM Women 400 Free

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JPN National Record – 58.70, Aya Terakawa 2013
JPN Olympic Qualifying Time – 59.71

TOP 8:

  1. Natsumi Sakai, 1:00.54
  2. Anna Konishi, 1:00.87
  3. Rio Shirai, 1:00.91
  4. Marina Kobayashi, 1:00.93
  5. Takahashi Aichi, 1:00.97
  6. Emi Moronuki, 1:00.99
  7. Akase Sayaka, 1:01.13
  8. Nagaoka Yamagata, 1:01.48

The spread among the top 8 finishers in tonight’s women’s 100m back semifinal are all separated by less than a second, with the top 6 less than half a second apart. The contenders will chase the Olympic qualifying standard of 59.71 in tomorrow night’s final, led by ISL breakout swimmer Natsumi Sakai and her top-seeded effort of 1:00.54.

Both Sakai and 3rd-seeded Rio Shirai have been under the consideration threshold, as has 2nd-seeded swimmer Anna Konishi. Tomorrow’s race will be a roaring contest all the way from starting block to timepad, with the women seeking both individual qualification, as well as the right to represent Japan on the women’s medley relay.


JPN National Record – 1:45.13, Katsuhiro (Katsuo) Matsumoto 2021
JPN Olympic Qualifying Time – 1:45.76

TOP 8:

  1. Katsuhiro (Katsuo) Matsumoto, 1:47.61
  2. Kosuke Hagino, 1:48.29
  3. Naito Ehara, 1:48.35
  4. Konosuke Yanagimoto, 1:48.37
  5. Kotaro Takahashi, 1:48.38
  6. Taikan Tanaka, 1:48.41
  7. Tenma Watanabe, 1:48.49
  8. Hidenari Mano, 1:48.83

Nothing crazy transpired in the men’s 200m free semifinal tonight, with the usual suspects of current and former national record-holders Katsuo Matsumoto and Kosuke Hagino slotted as the #1 and #2 seeds for tomorrow evening.

Matsumoto, who earned the new Japanese record just this past January with his quick 1:45.13, logged 1:47.61 this evening while Hagino played it cool with a semi swim of 1:48.29.

A wild card as the 4th seed is 17-year-old Konosuke Yanagimoto, the teen ace who introduced himself to the world with a 1:47.85 200m free as just a 16-year-old late last year. You can read up on Yanagimoto’s milestone swim here.

Not only are the men vying for individual Olympic representation in this 200m free event but they are also gunning for roster spots in the 800m free relay. The men need to hit 1:47.08 to be considered for the relay, with the top 4 finishers combining for a final result of 7:08.31 or faster.


JPN National Record – 1:05.88, Kanako Watanabe 2014
JPN Olympic Qualifying Time – 1:06.97

TOP 8:

  1. Reona Aoki, 1:07.10
  2. Kanako Watanabe, 1:07.13
  3. Yukino Miyasaka, 1:07.20
  4. Satomi Suzuki, 1:07.58
  5. Mai Fukasawa, 1:07.81
  6. Runa Imai, 1:08.04
  7. Shiori Asaba, 1:08.50
  8. Misaki Sekiguchi, 1:08.60

26-year-old Reona Aoki put up the fastest swim of the night in the women’s 100m breast, registering 1:07.10 to hold just a .03 advantage over Kanako Watanabe. The top 3 women, which also includes Yukino Miyasaka‘s 1:07.20, will duke it out tomorrow evening, not only chasing individual qualification but also relay team slotting.


JPN National Record – 52.24, Ryosuke Irie 2009
JPN Olympic Qualifying Time – 53.40

TOP 8:

  1. Ryosuke Irie, 53.40
  2. Junya Hasegawa, 53.97
  3. Masaki Kanego, 54.00
  4. Keita sunama, 54.34
  5. Takahiro Yamaazaki, 54.41
  6. Junya Koga, 54.72
  7. Ryota Naito, 54.73
  8. Yuma Edo, 54.97

Olympic veteran Ryosuke Irie casually clocked a time of 53.40 to easily land lane 4 for tomorrow night’s 100m backstroke final. Junya Hasegawa was the only other swimmer to get under 54, while just-off-suspension Junya Koga cleared 54.72 to take the meet title.

Irie owns the Japanese national record with the 52.24 he produced in 2009.

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1 year ago

Best moment was totally Ikee winning the 100 fly. She has a great shot at making the qualifying time in the 50/100 free.
The 400 free was a close race, great to see the top 2 both get under the QT.
Sato added time in finals, but can’t wait for the 200 breast against Watanabe, will likely be the best race of the meet.
I think the men’s 200 free times are not updated, they are the prelims times not the semifinals times.
100 breast final for women tomorrow will be awesome. Top 3 within a tenth of each other, I think they will push each other to make the QT.
Can Irie go 52 tomorrow in the 100 back?

Sakura Sakura
1 year ago

Watching the 100BR final, at probably 75-80m mark, I thought Koseki would grab the spot. He had a big lead. He has not competed much this year.

1 year ago

No way she’s 57 already, she’s just insane

1 year ago

If they bring these athletes for the medley, I see no problem in letting them swim the individual….

1 year ago

Heart warming story about Ikee BUT I never understood why countries make a tougher standard?!?!?! I don’t get it!!! If you make the Fina standard, then send the top 2 swimmers….they are your country’s best! And to take them just for a relay but not swim individually is beyond logical.

Reply to  Ghost
1 year ago

It’ll be surprising if she doesn’t get to swim the individual event.

Neil Jones
Reply to  Ghost
1 year ago

Agreed. See my comment above. Other points are to inspire the next generation. If the very best in your country who’s top 16 in the world is NOT selected to a team, what does that say to the next gen of kids, no one to look up to. Plus there are many many cases of Olympic Champions getting the chance to compete 4 yrs prior and get the Olympic nerves out of their system.

1 year ago

In the 200 free semifinals Matsumoto swam the fastest time in 1.47.61. Those above are the heats’ results.

1 year ago

Does this mean Japan will have no mens 100 breaststroker at an olympics in their own country?

1 year ago

Really encouraging signs in women’s 400 freestyle. 4:06.36 for Miyu Namba (born 2002) and 4:11.74 for Ruka Takezawa (born 2006).

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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