2023 Japan Open Day 2: 16-Yr-Old Mio Narita Grabs 400 IM Victory


The 2023 Japan Open saw day two’s action unfold from the Tokyo Aquatics Center with domestic athletes sparring with swimmers from Australia, Germany, Singapore and more.

As a reminder, this competition, along with next week’s Queensland Championships, represents a last-chance opportunity for Aussies to qualify for the 2024 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

We reported how 25-year-old Sam Williamson broke through with a big-time Aussie and Oceanic Record in the men’s 50m breaststroke heats.

This morning, Williamson fired off a mark of 26.51 to take down the longstanding 26.74 Olympian Christian Sprenger put on the books nearly a decade ago at the 2014 Australian Championships.

Williamson dove in for the final this evening and added time, but still won the gold in 26.77, the 3rd-quickest result of his career.

Taku Taniguchi of Japan also logged a lifetime best in the heats, taking the 2nd seed in 27.05, a new University Record. He was slightly slower in the final as well, snagging silver in 27.24.

Aussie Haig Buckingham of Australia rounded out the top 3, punching a result of 27.39. That’s a PB for the SOPAC swimmer, erasing his former best-ever 27.53 from this year’s World Trials.

On the women’s 50m breaststroke side, it was national record holder Satomi Suzuki who got it done for gold. The 32-year-old continued her career resurgence with a solid 30.56 to top the podium.

She’s already been as quick as 30.10 this season, a time which positions her as the 4th-fastest female in the world this season.

Comeback kid Chelsea Hodges of Australia reaped silver in 30.57 and Reona Aoki, the #2 100m breaststroker in the world right now, clocked 31.07 for bronze.

Hodges is still coming back to form since having sat out of this year’s World Trials and World Championships to undergo surgery to repair torn cartilage in her right hip. She was 30.31 in the morning heats as a faster result.

Although she placed in 4th and off the podium in 31.13, Singapore’s Letitia Sim earlier nailed a new national record out of the heats in this women’s 50m breast.

Sim earned a time of 30.92 this morning to get under the 31-second barrier for the first time in her career.

The University of Michigan Wolverine, who is redshirting this season to focus on Paris 2024, previously held the Singaporean standard with the 31.16 notched at this year’s national championships.

Just one man dipped under the 1:48-second barrier in tonight’s 200m free final. It was Hidenari Mano who got to the wall first in 1:47.22 for the gold. Mano was the 4th place finisher at this year’s Asian Games in a career-quickest 1:46.15.

Konosuke Yanagimoto was next in line at 1:48.07 while Tatsuya Murasu rounded out the top 3 performers in 1:48.07.

Of note, 400m IM winner here and 200m fly Olympic silver medalist Tomoru Honda placed 4th in 1:48.52. Honda owns a lifetime best of 1:47.43 and is possibly vying for a slot on the Japanese men’s 4x200m free relay.

Two-time gold medalist at the 2022 World Junior Championships Mio Narita collected the top spot in the women’s 400m IM this evening.

The 16-year-old put up a winning effort of 4:37.93 to hold a healthy advantage over runner-up Waka Kobori, the 400m free gold medalist at this Japan Open. Kobori notched 4:39.06 while Olympic champion Yui Ohashi earned bronze in 4:39.08.

Narita secured bronze in this event at this year’s Asian Games, posting a time of 4:38.77 to rank 4th in the world this season. Her teammate Ageha Tanigawa took silver in Hangzhou in a time of 4:35.65 to rank #2 in the world, although she settled for 5th place here in 4:43.57.

18-year-old Ella Ramsay of Australia placed 4th in 4:39.51, a new personal best. Prior to this competition, Ramsay had been as fast as 4:39.96 . Her outing this evening fell painstakingly short of the 4:39.46 needed for Doha.

The men’s 1500m free saw Shogo Takeda turn in a time of 15:11.69 to lead the pack. Kenta Ozuki was about 3 seconds behind in 15:14.41 and Ryoto Shirato was also right there in 15:14.75 as the bronze medalist.

Additional Notes

  • Nagisa Ikemoto stopped the clock at 1:58.55 to top the women’s 200m free podium. That got the edge over Aussie Brittany Casteluzzo who notched 1:58.89. Waka Kobori, just off her silver in the 400m IM, bagged bronze here in 1:59.69.
  • The women’s 100m back saw Rio Shirai grab gold in 1:00.46. Her PB rests at the 59.43 she produced in 2019.
  • Bradley Woodward of Australia was the men’s 100m back winner, hitting a mark of 53.72 as the sole swimmer under the 54-second threshold.

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2 months ago


2 months ago

Nothing too exciting from this session.

I guess Sam has claimed a place in Australia’s WC team though – assuming he wants one.

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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