33-Yr-Old Ryosuke Irie Posts Season-Best 1:56.26 200 Back At Tokyo Championships


  • Friday, June 2nd – Sunday, June 4th
  • Tokyo Aquatics Center
  • LCM (50m)
  • Results

The 15th Tokyo Swimming Championships wrapped up tonight with the non-selection meet representing another tune-up racing opportunity ahead of next month’s World Championships.

The likes of Daiya SetoYui Ohashi and Katsuhiro Matsumoto were in the water over the course of the 3 days, in addition to Ippei Watanabe.

We reported how Watanabe stole the spotlight on the final day, scorching a time of 2:07.55,  his fastest of the season, to take the men’s 200m breast.

As for Seto, the 29-year-old earned the victory in the men’s 200m IM, hitting a time of 1:58.47. He notched the sole outing of the field under the 2:00 barrier as a solid result with Fukuoka on the horizon.

Seto already owns the 6th slot in the season’s world rankings in this 2IM, courtesy of the 1:56.62 he put up at the Japan Championships/World Trials this past April.

On his current state, Seto said post-race, “Inside me, I’m doing really well, and my physical condition hasn’t deteriorated. It’s been a long time since I remembered the feeling of wanting to come to practice from around May 2019.”

Two-time Olympic champion Ohashi also took on her bread-and-butter 200m IM event, winning the race by well over one and a half seconds.

Ohashi touched in a time of 2:11.21 to top the podium, just .21 off of the 2:11.00 she logged in April. At that earlier race, she was outperformed by rising 16-year-old World Junior champion Mio Narita who took the national title in 2:10.91.

Olympic medalist Ryosuke Irie put on a show in the men’s 100m and 200m backstroke events, proving once again he is one of the most consistent swimmers on the planet.

The 33-year-old got to the wall first in the shorter event in a time of 53.51, beating the field by well over one second. In the longer distance, Irie touched in 1:56.26 as one of just two swimmers under the 2:00 mark.

Irie owns a season-best of 52.93 in the 100m back but his performance here represents a new season-best in the 2back. Splitting 56.64/59.62, Irie shaved over half a second off the 1:56.81 he logged for the national title in April.

Irie now moves up the season’s world rankings from #10 to #5.

2022-2023 LCM Men 200 Back

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It’s important to note, however, that Irie is not intending on racing this 200m back event in Fukuoka. He is expected to only race the 100m back and participate on the medley relay.

The only meet record to be broken came in the women’s 400m free with both of the top finishers getting under the previous meet standard.

Miyu Namba was the gold medalist in a time of 4:08.79, easily clearing the old meet mark of 4:11.54. Following suit was Waka Kobori who hit 4:09.60 as the silver medalist in the race.

Namba has been as quick as 4:07.95 in this race to rank 25th in the world on the season.

Katsuhiro Matsumoto grabbed the gold in the men’s 100m fly, posting a time of 51.62 while Junya Koga wrapped up the win in the 50m back with an outing of 25.74.

Matsumoto ranks as the 5th swiftest swimmer in the world this season with his 1fly season-best of 50.96. He is coming off of the Mare Nostrum Tour where he competed across all 3 stops of Canet, Barcelona and Monaco.

Post-race here, Matsumoto said,  “I’m really tired, but the times were good, and I felt that I was getting better at the race. I’m really looking forward to the World Championships.”

Additional Winners

  • Ikki Imoto claimed the men’s 1500m free victory in a time of 15:17.96.
  • Nagisa Ikemoto doubled up on gold, winning the women’s 200m free in 1:58.07, as well as the 100m free in 54.22. The latter result represents a personal best, overtaking the 20-year-old’s previous PB of 54.31 from this past April.
  • The men’s 200m free saw So Ogata get it done for gold in 1:49.48.
  • Hiroko Makino claimed gold in the women’s 100m fly, posting a time of 58.24. Makino was also among the 200m fly competitors, snagging silver in a time of 2:09.63. In that longer race, it was reigning national champion Airi Mitsui who got to the wall first in 2:09.22. Mitsui is already ranked 4th in the world with her 2:06.77 lifetime best from the Japan Championships.
  • The women’s 50m free saw Mayuka Yamamoto produce a mark of 25.35 to top the podium. Yamamoto did it again in the 50m fly, registering the top time of 26.58.
  • The men’s 400m IM was won by Yuki Ikari who stopped the clock in a result of 4:15.75. Ikari landed atop the podium once more, claiming the victory in the 400m free with a time of 3:51.16.
  • Yuya Tanaka hit a mark of 23.55 to win the men’s 50m fly.
  • The men’s 100m free saw Kaiya Seki touch in 49.02 to claim the gold.
  • Runa Imai scored the win in the women’s 200m breast in a result of 2:24.90. She qualified for the World Championships with the 2:22.98 hit in April, a time that ranks her 7th in the world this season.
  • Namba also topped the women’s 800m free podium, posting a result of 8:39.44 in that longer race.
  • Kobori, too, doubled up on gold, claiming the 400m IM top prize in a mark of 4:39.97. Ageha Tanigawa was close behind for silver in 4:40.22 on day one.
  • Katsumi Nakamura claimed gold over Shinri Shioura in the men’s 50m free. The former touched in 22.26 with the latter getting to the wall on .01 behind in 22.27 for silver.

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Terry Watts
3 months ago

Sugoi ne!?!

Ceccon - Kamminga - Milak - Popovici
3 months ago

The most consistent elite backstroker ever. Unbelievable talent and technique.

3 months ago

Absolute GOAT of the bottle drill. With his technique, I feel like Irie is one of the few non-sprint specialists that could realistically stay competitive in his signature event at 40.

Claire Curzan Fan
3 months ago


Summer is Titmus’ Sleep Paralysis Demon
3 months ago

Whoa! Those are pretty slow times in season for the 200bk from everyone. Even from that Russian guy.


Are they? JES would have been 4th in Tokyo and 4th in Budapest. Rylov would have been 5th in Tokyo and 4th in Budapest.

Not sure how multiple swims that were borderline Olympic medal-worthy can be considered “slow times in season”.

Reply to  Jimmyswim
3 months ago

Because the times that won Olympic medals were laughably slow as well

3 months ago

Rooting so hard for him to get his gold this summer or next. One of those legendary swimmers of whom I can’t believe he’s never won before

Reply to  Koen
3 months ago

If he wins in Paris I’m gonna be happier for him that any swimmer from the US LMAO

3 months ago

Imagine being a swimmer and not loving Ryosuke. Smoothest and most aesthetically pleasing backstroke ever

Last edited 3 months ago by Mclovin
3 months ago

Crazy that this guy actually has a chance to medal in Fukuoka. A testament to his incredible longevity and the laughably weak state of the men’s 200 back.

He’s the second fastest performer in history too…

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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