4 Japanese Men Post 51-Point 100 Butterfly Times In Tokyo


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.

2020-2021 LCM Men 100 Fly

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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

  1. Kouhei Kawamoto – 51.00, 2009
  2. Shinnosuke Ishikawa – 51.11, 2019
  3. Takuro Fujii – 51.24, 2009
  4. Takeshi Kawamoto – 51.28, 2021
  5. Naoki Mizunuma – 51.34, 2021
  6. 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.

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3 years ago

Kobori also started out his career as a 200 freestyler. There something about that 100fl/200fr double.

Reply to  Dee
3 years ago

If it hadn’t been for East Germans, Mary T would have been the 1986 World Champion in the 200m free. Susie O’Neill won the 200 free at the Olympics. The 100/200 fly and 200 free are very complimentary events.

3 years ago

Medley relay depth is really getting pretty crazy around the world. Having five countries with the potential to go under 3:30 (USA, GBR, Japan, Russia, maybe Australia) is crazy when you remember it took a 3:29.9 to win worlds in 2015.

Reply to  ibelieve
3 years ago

US, GB and RU will go (imo) 3.28 or better, US could even break 3.27 if they all swim at 100%: Best (recent) times are 51.9+58.9+49.5+47.3= 3.27 mid and then you have to add relay starts.
IT, AU, CH, JP should go under 3.30 and FR/BR can realistically go 3.30 low. So yes, big improvement expected.

Reply to  Lopez
3 years ago

I would not be surprised if Brazil went sub 3:30 .
Lanza had a terrible world as he split 51,2 only on relay and chiereghini a 47,6

3 years ago

This event has just got so fast recently.

Obviously Dressel’s been doing Dressel things, but everyone else has got faster too. 51.14 was the time Phelps/Le Clos/Cseh tied for silver on in Rio, now it seems that will probably just about make the final in Tokyo.

Mr Piano
Reply to  Togger
3 years ago

Even in Rio, everyone on here expected Le Clos and Phelps to be like 50.2 or 50.3 from my memory, but they were kinda dead I guess. 2017 worlds was a crazy fast final, it would be great to see something like that again this year.

Reply to  Togger
3 years ago

The worlds final in 2019 was much slower in 2019 and in 2017. Why does everyone believe the narrative that the 100 fly has suddenly gotten much faster? In the end i would bet money on 51.3 to 51.5 being enough to make the final.

Reply to  AnEn
3 years ago

Sorry, i meant that the worlds final in 2019 was much slower than that in 2017.

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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