ASIA: Kitajima Effect Lives on for Japanese Breaststrokers


Japanese breaststroke legend Kosuke Kitajima sparked a fire among young swimmers in Japan that led to a fast and deep field of Japanese breaststrokers. The Kitajima Effect lives on among the Japanese, and that was apparent when Ippei Watanabe took down the World Record in the 200 breast, making him the fastest man in the world this year, at the 2017 Kosuke Kitajima Cup.

It was also apparent as 2 Japanese men made it to the podium in tonight’s 200 breast final at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. World Record holder Watanabe set the pace through the front half. He was under his World Record split at the 100, but fell off the pace through the back half as Russia’s Anton Chupkov went by him on the final 50. Watanabe’s teammate Yasuhiro Koseki (2:07.47) also made a late move, running him down at the finish. Though they didn’t win gold, that gave the Japanese 2 more medals in their overall count as Koseki took silver and Watanabe took bronze.

Earlier in the meet, Koseki nearly made the 100 breast podium as well. He finished 4th in the 100 breast final in 59.10, putting him just 5 hundredths shy of a bronze medal. He didn’t advance to the final of the 50 breast, but Koseki set a new Asian Record and Japanese Record in that event with his 27.17 in the semifinals.


Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
China 3 2 3 8
Japan 0 3 2 5

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About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. She got her M.S. in Criminology from Florida State and seems exceptionally confused about which team she should cheer for during the college football season. Lauren is currently working on her M.A. in …

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