2021 JAPAN OPEN
- Thursday, February 4th – Sunday, February 7th
- Tokyo Aquatics Centre
- LCM (50m)
- Entry List (in Japanese)
- SwimSwam Preview
- Day 1 Finals/Day 2 Finals/Day 3 Finals
In addition to Shoma Sato‘s monster swim in the 200m breast, as well as Rikako Ikee‘s comeback-best in the women’s 50m free, the final day of the Japan Open brought the heat in the men’s 100m fly event.
Remarkably while competing at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, site of this summer’s Olympic Games’ swimming action, the top 4 finishers in the 1fly all stopped the clock in the 51-second zone.
The impressive depth included International Swimming League (ISL) Tokyo Frog Kings standout Takeshi Kawamoto putting up his best time ever, leading the way with a 51.28 scorcher. Splitting 23.69/27.59, Kawamoto put the Japanese national record on notice, with that mark resting at the 51.00 Kouhei Kawamoto registered way back in 2009.
Entering this meet, Kawamoto’s lifetime best in this 100m fly sat at the 51.83 he logged just last December. However, his 51.28 tonight hacked over half a second off of that result to check-in as the world’s 4th fastest swimmer this season.
But the man wasn’t alone in producing a high-caliber performance, however. Naoki Mizunuma finished just a hair behind, stopping the clock in a mighty 51.34 as the runner-up just .06 away from Kawamoto. Mizunuma was slower on the front half of the race, staring out in 24.24, but nailed a back half of 27.10 to make it a race to the finish.
Rounding out the top 3 was Katsuo Matsumoto, the 200m freestyle silver medalist at the 2019 FINA World Championships. Matsumoto has steadily been improving in this once ‘off’ event, coming in tonight with a lifetime best of 51.47. That result shaved .19 off of the 51.66 he logged last December in what is quickly becoming a competitive venture for Matsumoto.
Yuki Kobori hit a time of 51.87 for 4th place as the other sub-52 second swimmer, while Nao Horomura‘s 52.08 fell just outside of the exclusive club.
As mentioned, Kawamoto now slides into slot #4 among this season’s best performers worldwide and he’s joined by teammate Mizunuma who now ranks 5th in the world.
The all-time Japanese men’s performers list has also been shaken up, with Kawamoto rocketing up from being ranked as the 8th fastest man ever from his nation to now #4, ironically frog-hopping Mizunuma. Mizunuma’s previous PB of 51.43 rendered him as the 4th Japanese 100m fly of all-time but he’s now supplanted by Kawamoto.
All-Time Japanese Men’s LCM 100 Butterfly Performers
- Kouhei Kawamoto – 51.00, 2009
- Shinnosuke Ishikawa – 51.11, 2019
- Takuro Fujii – 51.24, 2009
- Takeshi Kawamoto – 51.28, 2021
- Naoki Mizunuma – 51.34, 2021
- Katsuo Matsumoto – 51.47, 2021
Additional Final Day Results:
- Koshiro Sakai upset usual 50m freestyle suspects Katsumi Nakamura and Shinri Shioura in tonight’s splash n’ dash. Sakai logged a winning effort of 22.03 to sneak into the wall just .02 ahead of Kosuke Matsui who touched in 22.05 for silver. Rounding out the top 3 was Akira Namba in 22.11, which left the aforementioned Nakamura and Shioura off the podium. Shioura settled for 4th in 22.13 while Nakamura placed 5th in 22.29.
- Shogo Takeda came within striking distance of the Japanese national record en route to victory in the men’s 800m free. The 25-year-old finished in a time of 7:50.57, just over a second away from the national standard of 7:49.65.
- The women’s 1500m free saw ace Waka Kobori wrap up her trifecta of freestyle medals, taking this event in 8:41.68. She also topped the women’s 400m and 800m free podiums here.
- Chiharu Iitsuka came out ahead of Suzuka Hasegawa in the women’s 100m fly, with the former hitting 58.37 to the latter’s 58.68. The 200m fly champion here, Hiroko Makino, grabbed bronze in 58.77.
- The women’s 200m back saw Marina Furubayashi get it done for gold in 2:10.02 while 31-year-old mainstay Ryosuke Irie posted 1:56.52 in the men’s edition.
- Kanako Watanabe topped the women’s 200m breast podium in 2:24.15 to close out tonight’s action.