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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Tokyo Drift
6 months ago

Rikako Ikee, my god, what an inspiration.

6 months ago

Ikee wins the 100 fly! Officially qualified for the Olympics via the 4×100 medley. Incredible.

Reply to  avgasian
6 months ago

Yay. I forgot about the medley. Was sad for her missing the standard.

Reply to  avgasian
6 months ago

Beyond belief

Chalmers > Dressel
Reply to  avgasian
6 months ago

They could give her the individual spot since nobody in the country is qualified. I find it dumb that countries like France, Italy, GB, Japan , swimming powerhouses have higher qualifying standards. Who will swim in olympic final and semi-final then ? Countries that met lower Olympic A standards and slower swimmers? No wonder why USA had such success in olympics because the top 2 from each race are automatically qualified. And they tend to swim faster with the hype and spectators at the games.

Last edited 6 months ago by Chalmers > Dressel
Reply to  Chalmers > Dressel
6 months ago

I have a feeling they’re going to give her the spot. As someone else mentioned her improvement curve is going to her different from others – she’ll only get better from here.

Reply to  Chalmers > Dressel
6 months ago

It’s their home olympics and they don’t want likely finalists?

Sakura Sakura
Reply to  Chalmers > Dressel
6 months ago

I totally agree! I do not know about the reasons with other countries, but with Japan, this is within their culture. They only select the swimmers who have the possibility of making the Olympic final. The time standards are made from the world top 8 ranking.

Neil Jones
Reply to  avgasian
6 months ago

And yes to the other qualification comments, of course every Nat federation can do their own thing. But for swimming to really be taken more serious as a professional sport as a ‘Fan’ I want to see the best including top 16 or Fina A for example. I want to see them duke it out in the semis to make finals, it should be hard! Swimming is deeper and faster than ever. If you can post a top 16 standard you do have a shot at making a top 8 final.

6 months ago

So Ikee won the 100 fly in 57.77 but missed the Japanese qualifying standard if I read it right.

6 months ago


6 months ago

Sato slower in the 100 BR final but still wins it 59.30.

Sakura Sakura
Reply to  Troyy
6 months ago

Yes. He had 59.18 at the semi. Too bad they do not consider the top time in prelim, semi and final. It has to be from the final.

6 months ago

Ikee goes same time as 2016.

6 months ago

So happy for Ikee. It will truly be a fairytale if she makes the team, and its looking good.

6 months ago

*slightly* off topic but can someone explain to me why Kitajima missed the 2016 Olympics despite getting .01 under the Japanese qualification standard?

Reply to  Penguin
6 months ago

If I remember correctly, he got third place in the race. The top two are the only ones that get selected.

Breaking Bad News
Reply to  Penguin
6 months ago

He didn’t do it in the final…and probably another unmentionable dark reason.

Reply to  Penguin
6 months ago

The condition for the Japanese Olympic team is to break the standard record in the final and be in second place.

Reply to  dddd
6 months ago

Geez under the time in semis and 2nd place in finals. Man worked hard to make his 5th Olympics but missed. Legend frog king.

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Retta Race

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