2024 Japanese Olympic Trials: Day 4 Finals Live Recap

2024 JAPANESE OLYMPIC TRIALS

Day four of the 2024 Japanese Olympic Trials has some heated battles on the agenda, including the men’s 200m fly and 200m breast.

Olympic silver medalist and reigning world champion Tomoru Honda will be in the water, as will national record holder Daiya Seto. Honda missed making the 400m IM final earlier in the week while Seto earned silver in the event, although outside the Paris 2024 qualification standard.

In the 200m breast 3 of the top 5 best-ever Japanese swimmers will be vying for a slot in tomorrow night’s final. Ippei Watanabe, Shoma Sato and Yamato Fukasawa are among the tightly-packed competitors.

There are 2 finals in this evening’s session, the women’s 100m back and men’s 800m free.

MEN’S 100 FREE – SEMI-FINAL

  • Japanese National Record – 47.85 – Katsuhiro Matsumoto, 2023
  • Asian Record – 46.80 – Pan Zhanle (CHN), 2024
  • World Record – 46.80 – Pan Zhanle (CHN), 2024
  • JASF QT – 47.97

Top 8:

  1. Katsuhiro Matsumoto, 49.00
  2. Juran Mizohata, 49.11
  3. Katsumi Nakamura, 49.14
  4. Tomonobu Gomi, 49.30
  5. Reo Sakata, 49.35
  6. Konosuke Yanagimoto, 49.36 & Shuya Matsumoto, 49.36
  7. Kaiya Seki, 49.62

The men’s 100m freestyle kicked off tonight’s session, with national record holder Katsuhiro Matsumoto leading a pack of 13 swimmers who all got under the 50-second barrier.

27-year-old Matsumoto shaved some time off his morning mark of 49.32 to land lane 4 for tomorrow night’s final in 49.00.

Right behind him was Juran Mizohata who produced a time of 49.11 while Katsumi Nakamura is also in the mix at 49.14.

Matsumoto’s national record stands at 47.85, a benchmark just under the stiff Japanese Swimming Federation (JASF)-mandated selection standard of 47.97. He has already booked his ticket to Paris in the 200m free.

In addition to individual qualification, these men are chasing a relay berth as well. The top 4 finishers tomorrow night need to average 48.42 which is a tall order given the relatively pedestrian semi-final.

MEN’S 200 FLY – SEMI-FINAL

  • Japanese National Record – 1:52.53 – Daiya Seto, 2020
  • Asian Record – 1:52.53 – Daiya Seto, 2020
  • World Record – 1:50.34 – Kristof Milak (HUN), 2022
  • JASF QT – 1:55.27

Top 8:

  1. Tomoru Honda, 1:55.43
  2. Takumi Terada, 1:55.50
  3. Genki Terakado, 1:56.15
  4. Daiya Seto, 1:56.20
  5. Riku Tanpo, 1:56.88
  6. Nao Horomura, 1:57.25
  7. Yuya Sakamoto, 1:57.29
  8. Daiki Tanaka, 1:57.42

Newly-minted world champion and Olympic silver medalist Tomoru Honda led this men’s 200m fly but the 22-year-old is not without challengers.

As a testament to this event being one of Japan’s deepest, the top 8 all got under the 1:58 threshold with the top tier knocking on the door of the JASF selection standard of 1:55.27.

Honda fired off a time of 1:55.43 to hold a narrow advantage over Takumi Terada who touched in 1:55.50. Genki Terakado reaped the 3rd position in 1:56.15.

Honda owns a lifetime best of 1:52.70 to represent Japan’s #2 performer all-time. Only reigning national record holder Daiya Seto has been quicker with 1:52.53. Seto checked in tonight at 1:56.20 for the 4th seed.

Terada’s PB sits at the 1:54.81 established at the 2023 Japanese National Championships last April so he has proven he’s capable of gunning for an Olympic berth.

As a reminder, Honda is seeking redemption after missing the final of the men’s 400m IM despite owning the nation’s season-best time entering this competition.

Honda swam with a sprained ankle at February’s World Championship meet, before ultimately pulling out of the meet entirely after his gold medal-winning 200 fly.

WOMEN’S 100 FREE – SEMI-FINAL

  • Japanese National Record – 52.79 – Rikako Ikee, 2018
  • Asian Record – 52.02 – Siobhan Haughey (HKG), 2023
  • World Record – 51.71 – Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 2017
  • JASF QT – 53.12

Top 8:

  1. Rikako Ikee, 54.32
  2. Yume Jinno, 54.76
  3. Nagisa Ikemoto, 54.77
  4. Shiho Matsumoto, 54.97
  5. Aoi Masuda, 55.26
  6. Hazuki Yamamoto, 55.29
  7. Natsuki Hiroshita, 55.31
  8. Mizuki Hirai, 55.75

Already qualified for her 3rd Olympic Games via her silver medal in the 100m fly, 23-year-old Rikako Ikee is looking to add this 100m freestyle to her lineu0p.

Ikee topped the event’s semi-finals with a mark of 54.32, a time just over a second outside the JASF selection standard of 53.12.

Ikee, who has been training in Australia under Michael Bohl, owns the national record with the 52.79 put on the books at the 2018 Kosuke Kitajima Cup. Her time here represents a season-best.

Yume Jinno and Nagisa Ikemoto were just .01 off one another en route to capturing the 2nd and 3rd seeds. Jinno hit 54.76 while Ikemoto logged 54.77. Shiho Matsumoto was the only other racer under 55 seconds, producing 54.97 for the 5th seed.

Ikemoto clocked a mark of 54.27 at last year’s Asian Games, a result within striking distance of her best-ever 54.11 from last August.

As with the men, the women are also seeking 4x100m free qualification for Paris. They’ll need the top 4 finishers to average 54.15 which is a big task for this relatively weak event.

MEN’S 200 BREAST – SEMI-FINAL

  • Japanese National Record – 2:06.40 – Shoma Sato, 2021
  • Asian Record – 2:05.48 – Qin Haiyang (CHN), 2023
  • World Record – 2:05.48 – Qin Haiyang (CHN), 2023
  • JASF QT – 2:08.48

Top 8:

  1. Ippei Watanabe, 2:07.92
  2. Yu Hanaguruma, 2:08.99
  3. Yamato Fukasawa, 2:09.26
  4. Shoma Sato, 2:09.89
  5. Hiroshima Shirai, 2:10.55
  6. Shin Ohashi, 2:11.13 *New Junior High School Record
  7. Ippei Miyamoto, 2:11.50
  8. Shun Kamata, 2:11.56

Perhaps the most anticipated event of these Trials did not disappoint, as Ippei Watanabe staked his claim in blistering 2:07.92.

The former world record holder set himself apart from tonight’s field by over a second, with Yu Hanaguruma taking the 2nd slot in 2:08.99.

Yamato Fukasawa will also flank Watanabe for tomorrow evening’s main event, powering his way to a semi swim of 2:09.26.

Of note, 6th-seeded Shin Ohashi cracked a new Junior High School Record en route to producing a time of 2:11.13. He is just 15 years of age. He earned gold in the boys’ 12-14 200m breaststroke just last month at the Asian Age Group Championships, hitting a time of 2:13.93. He just dropped that down well over a second with tonight’s performance.

As we reported in our preview, 3 of the 4 fastest-ever Japanese 200m breast performers are among those vying for an Olympic bid. Fukasawa was the most recent to notch a new lifetime best, posting a a time of 2:07.07 last month.

  1. Shoma Sato – 2:06.40, 2021
  2. Ippei Watanabe – 2:06.67, 2017
  3. Akihiro Yamaguchi – 2:07.01, 2012
  4. Yamato Fukasawa – 2:07.07, 2024

Not on the list is Hanaguruma who owns a career-best of 2:07.99, earned at the 2022 World Championship Trials. He was the 200m breast silver medalist at that year’s Championships in Budapest.

Watanabe entered these Trials ranked #1 in the world, courtesy of the 2:07.02 he logged at January’s Kosuke Kitajima Cup. He is seeking redemption for having not made the 2020 Olympic team.

The selection standard of 2:08.48 should not be a problem for these competitors; the question is who will get to the wall first.

WOMEN’S 100 BACK – FINAL

  • Japanese National Record – 58.70 – Aya Terakawa, 2013
  • Asian Record – 58.70 – Aya Terakawa, 2013
  • World Record – 57.33 – Kaylee McKeown (AUS) 2023
  • JASF QT – 59.49

GOLD – Rio Shirai, 1:00.27
SILVER – Miki Takahashi, 1:00.49
BRONZE – Anna Konishi, 1:00.57

In the first final of the evening, 24-year-old Rio Shirai topped the women’s 100m backstroke podium in a time of 1:00.27.

It was Miki Takahashi who led at the halfway point, opening in 28.80 to Shirai’s 29.28. But Shirai gained momentum which relegated Takahashi to silver in 1:00.49.

Anna Konishi, last night’s leader of the semi-finals bagged bronze in 1:00.57.

The Japanese Swimming Federation (JASF)-mandated qualification time of 59.49 is needed to make the Olympic squad. Shirai has been under that barrier, owning a lifetime best of 59.43 from 2019 but couldn’t get there tonight.

Konishi would have had to surpass her career-quickest 59.62 to earn qualification.

MEN’S 800 FREE – FINAL

  • Japanese National Record – 7:49.55 – Shui Kurokawa, 2021
  • Asian Record – 7:32.12 – Zhang Lin (CHN), 2009
  • World Record – 7:32.12 – Zhang Lin (CHN), 2009
  • JASF QT – 7:46.55

GOLD – Ikki Imoto, 7:56.17
SILVER – Shui Kurokawa, 7:58.79
BRONZE – Kazushi Imafuku, 7:59.58

The 2nd final on the agenda was the men’s 800m free. The field was hunting a qualification time of 7:46.55, a benchmark faster than the current Japanese national record of 7:49.55.

Owning that national record is Shui Kurokawa who was indeed in the water tonight. Kurokawa stopped the clock in 7:58.79 to earn silver behind champion Ikki Imoto,

Imoto produced a gold medal-worthy 7:56.18, a time within a second of his lifetime best of 7:55.80 from 2022.

Bronze went to 16-year-old Kazushi Imafuku, with the teen dipping under the 8:00 threshold for the first time in his career. Entering these Trials he’d been as quick as 8:01.67 from the Japan Open last winter.

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UGG
4 months ago

If no one qualifies individually in the 100 free, but the top 4 aggregate time is faster than the relay standard the JASF sets, the JASF better not do that thing where they register the national champion in the individual event in prep for the relay.

I say this because, at the beginning of each finals session, they mention the route to making the Olympic Team (Top 2 + plus qualifying time). There’s no mention of ‘the JASF can also step in and allow swimmers to swim in events despite not hitting the qualifying time at Trials for relay purposes’.

If they allow the winners in the 100 Back, 100 Breast, 100 Fly, and 100 Free who didn’t meet the… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by UGG
Daddy Foster
Reply to  UGG
4 months ago

Relax. Let’s cross that bridge if we get there

Stewart Fenwick
4 months ago

Three rounds is useless for trials.

Honest Observer
Reply to  Stewart Fenwick
4 months ago

They should probably eliminate semis from the Olympics (certainly for the 200 distances), but as long as they have them at the Olympics, most countries are probably best served by replicating competition conditions as much as possible at Trials.

oxyswim
Reply to  Honest Observer
4 months ago

It’s not actually replicating competition conditions when Matsumoto can go 49.00 in the semi final and make the final comfortably. Also to have 3 rounds with super stringent qualifying standards detracts from the chances of athletes hitting those times. 3 Rounds makes sense when you have the depth of the US, it doesn’t with the depth of almost any other country.

commonwombat
Reply to  Honest Observer
4 months ago

Conceptually … yes but can you then nominate WHICH countries possess the requisite depth in sufficient events to actually justify having them ?

The cold stark reality is that in 95% or more events at all bar one country’s Trials; the composition of the final is pretty much clear cut as are, in a majority of cases, the most likely qualifiers.

The one country with the depth and spread of talent to potentially warrant them, USA, notably doesn’t bother with them. AUS clung onto them for ages but notably their international results have swung upwards since they ditched them.

Joel
Reply to  commonwombat
4 months ago

I don’t remember Australian trials having semis…….?

NoFastTwitch
Reply to  Stewart Fenwick
4 months ago

Agree. Three rounds might make sense if the time from any round was eligible for making the JASF QT; otherwise two rounds seems more logical for this meet.

Fly You Fools
4 months ago

Does anyone know how the Japanese team set the olympic qualifying times? I see they can get in with a WC medal, but those are some lethal cutoff times

UGG
Reply to  Fly You Fools
4 months ago

If I remember correctly, they set the standard around the time it takes to make the final at World Champs.

phelpsfan
4 months ago

Zero qualifiers again. JASF standards are ridiculous

phelpsfan
Reply to  phelpsfan
4 months ago

Actually, even if JASF used the FINA A standards there would be no qualifiers anyways.

Swemmer
4 months ago

Another day with ZERO qualifiers. JASF is trying to make their swimmers better by making the QT’s faster but who’s gonna tell them that it isn’t working lmao

Rafael
Reply to  Swemmer
4 months ago

Today no one got even fina A…

Aragon Son of Arathorne
4 months ago

those qt are no joke

Anymouse
4 months ago

The relative strengths of nations in certain events is really interesting and I’d love to understand more about why it happens. The difference in strength in Japan, between the Men’s 200 breast and the women’s 100 back is so incredible.

There seems to be this really interesting grouping in Japan, where the gap between the best and 8th is relatively small but they are all either really good or all relatively poor (by world standards).

Compared to the UK, where we tend to have much bigger gaps between 1st and 8th, for example, but the 1st place swimmers are usually able to either meet the olympic standards (which are similar between Japan and the UK) or get very close.

snailSpace
4 months ago

Okay so men’s 200 breast depth is still unreal in Japan. Four guys sub 2:10 in semis. Wow.

Troyy
Reply to  snailSpace
4 months ago

A 15 yo went 2:11 🤯

Swemmer
Reply to  snailSpace
4 months ago

Three of them have a solid shot at going sub 2:08 in the final, but Shoma Sato, who was the other sub 2:10 guy in the morning, has shown no sign of his 2020-2021 form (he went a 2:06.40 at the 2021 trials)

Richard
Reply to  Swemmer
4 months ago

The Japanese are truly the frog kings

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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