5 JPN Men Clock 48-Second 100 Free Times At Kosuke Kitajima Cup


Day 2 of the 2020 Kosuke Kitajima Cup brought an Olympic-worthy 400m IM effort from the nation’s on-fire swimmer, Daiya Seto. The 25-year-old posted a world-leading time of 4:06.09 to come within .04 of the Japanese national record and check-in as the world’s 5th fastest performer ever. You can read more about Seto’s swim here.

Japan had other weapons in the Tatsumi International Swimming Centre pool tonight, however, such as World Championships bronze medalist Yui Ohashi. The 24-year-old produced a winning 400m IM time of 4:34.94 for the women, a solid effort to win by over 11 seconds.

Ohashi ranks #1 in the world for the 2019/20 season, holding a time of 4:32.57 from December’s Queensland Championships. Her bronze in Gwangju came in the form of 4:32.33, while her lifetime best sits at a 4:30.82 from 2018.

The women’s 200m backstroke meet record bit the dust, courtesy of Rio Shirai. The 20-year-old Asian Games medalist logged a time of 2:09.91 to score the only result under 2:12 in tonight’s field.

Splitting 1:02.85/1:07.06, Shirai’s 2:09.91 from tonight is well outside her season-best of 2:07.87 from September’s Japanese Student Championships. That outing positions her as #3 in the world this season.

Olympic medalist Ryosuke Irie gifted himself a 52.59 world-leading 100m backstroke time for his 30th birthday yesterday and followed it up with a 200m back meet record this evening. Opening in 56.53 and closing in 58.82, Irie stopped the clock in a time of 1:55.35 to take the men’s 200 back by over 2 seconds.

The timeless Irie still ranks now as the #1 swimmer in the world in the event since September 1st, but his time tonight slices .20 off of his previous world-leading mark of 1:55.55 produced at the FINA Champions Series in Beijing last week.

As such, at 30 years of age, Irie tops the world rankings in both the 100m and 200m backstroke events.

Japan’s 4th fastest 100m freestyler ever on the women’s side, Rika Omoto, got it done for gold in the event this evening. The versatile 22-year-old who raced the 200m IM in Gwangju last year hit a 100m free time tonight of 54.39 to take the top prize.

Splitting 26.15/28.24, Omoto’s time of 54.39 ranked as the only mark under 55 seconds, with Tomomi Aoki and Aya Sato rounding out the podium in respective efforts of 55.05 and 55.07.

Omoto’s time of 54.19 from the 2019 Japan Open remains as her personal best in the event.

To cap off the evening, 5 men dipped under the 49-second threshold in the 100m free, led by former national record holder in the event, Shinri Shioura.

Shioura staked his claim on the event early, hitting the only 48-second time of the heats with a morning swim of 48.86.

Come tonight’s final, Shioura sliced another .09 off of that time to post a gold medal-worthy 48.77. That touched just .04 ahead of domestic rival Katsumi Nakamura, who owns the JPN national record in 47.87.

Also getting under 49 seconds in the final was Masahiro Kawane, who busted out a lifetime best of 48.83, good enough for bronze.

Last night’s 200m free winner and 2019 World Championship silver medalist Katsuhiro Matsumoto put up a 4th place mark of 48.86 while Kaiya Seki sneaked under the barrier in 48.95.

Shioura owns a personal best of 48.35 from 2016 while Matsumoto was as quick as 48.52 just last year. For Kawane and Seki, however, the men busted out the quickest outings of their careers, with Kawane’s 48.83 now making him Japan’s 7th fastest performer, while Seki now ranks as the 8th fastest.

The Japanese men’s 4x100m freestyle relay qualified for this year’s Olympic Games by way of its 9th place finish at the 2019 World Championships. There in Gwangju, the combination of Nakamura (48.48), Shioura (48.92), Matsumoto (47.95) and Akira Namba (48.81) collectively clocked a time of 3:14.16.

With 5 men already under 49 seconds in January, it’s a promising outlook for the nation to bring a relay squad into the final of the 4x100m free relay this summer.

Additional Winners:

  • Chihiro Igarashi doubled up on her 200m freestyle victory from night 1 by reaping gold in the 400m free this evening. 4:12.09 is the time Igarashi posted to beat the field.
  • The men’s 400m free saw Takeda Syogo top the podium in 3:49.76, the final’s only mark under 3:50.

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2 years ago

Between 04 and 08 Japan had a great 300 medley relay. Just needed a freestyler and I feel they could have have challenged the US.

2 years ago

In the 400 IM where Seto swam that 4.06.09, there was also a 4.14.11, good for second place, from 20 year-old Miyamoto.

felps face
2 years ago

Japanese swimming is absolutely popping off. Big things ahead.

2 years ago

That is impressive for January

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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