The final day of the 2015 Japan Open brought down the house with incredible swims from both in-country and visiting swimmers. Another round of the ongoing Daiya Seto v. Kosuke Hagino battle took place in the men’s 200m IM, while red-hot Emma McKeon (Australia) snagged her fourth gold of the meet in world-ranking style.
Full Meet Results
Miki Uchida successfully defended her 50m freestyle Japan Open title from last year, winning this year’s event in 25.14. That knocks almost a tenth off of Uchida’s 25.23 that took the gold at the 2014 edition. Second place today was Yayoi Matsumoto in 25.56, followed by Australia’s Ami Matsuo who touched in 3rd in 25.57. Although swift for this meet, women worldwide need to be way past sub-25 to crack the world’s top ten. Case in point, Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom’s 24.74 currently sits in the tenth place position in the world rankings.
On-fire Emma McKeon scored yet another win for Australia, bringing her total number of golds to four on this meet. In addition to McKeon’s already stellar 100m/200m freestyle and 50m butterfly (tie) wins, she topped today’s 100m butterfly field in an incredible 57.62 outing. That time now ranks as 5th in the world, although McKeon already owns the 3rd-fastest (57.31) from her effort at the Australian National Championships in April. The field overall in today’s race was quite speedy, with the top three women all sub-59, and the top 6 all under the 1:00 mark. Japan’s Natsumi Hoshi (58.46) and Rikako Ikee (58.49) earned second and third place finishes, respectively.
The women’s 200m breaststroke race also brought fireworks, with Japanese sensation Kanako Watanabe nabbing gold in 2:22.13. This is the 6th-fastest time in the world thus far this year, although Watanabe is currently the queen of the event, sitting atop the world rankings with her 2:20.90 from Japanese Nationals. Behind Watanabe today was Rie Kanetou, throwing down her own mean swim with a 2:22.46 to rank as 7th-fastest in the world. She, too, has a performance towards the top of the rankings from Japanese Nationals, the 2:21.90 that sits in 3rd place on the world’s 2015 list.
Additional Women Event Winners
– 200m IM – Rika Ohmoto earned the win in the event with a time of 2:12.05.
– 50m backstroke – 28.36 for Miyuki Takemura was enough to top the field for the win.
The 200m IM event did not disappoint, as another head-to-head duel ensued between Daiya Seto and Kosuke Hagino, the Japanese men who currently rank as number one and number two, respectively, in the world in the event. It was Seto who came out on top today, however, clocking the world’s 4th-fastest performance, 1:57.63, for gold. For his efforts, Hagino actually touched in 3rd place in the race, registering a 2:00.04. Just outside the world’s top ten was today’s 2nd place finisher, Hiromasa Fujimori, who touched in 2:00.04, just 3/100 off of his 2nd-place winning time from last year of 2:00.01
Junya Koga continues to dominate in the sprint backstroke event, winning the 50m race in 24.73. This was just 1/100 faster than his 24.74 winning time from last weekend’s Arena Pro Swim Series in Charlotte, giving Koga the 3rd and 4th-fastest times thus far in 2015. The Japanese record is 24.24, so Koga is inching closer and closer with every performance, making the mark within reach perhaps for 2015.
The men’s 50m freestyle event saw Shinri Shioura touch in 22.04 for the win, just outside of the world’s top ten. He was followed by teammate Katsumi Nakamura, the 2015 Japan Open 100m freestyle gold medalist and new Japanese record holder, who finished in 22.27 for second place in this shorter distance. 3rd place was earned today by USA’s Anthony Ervin, who finished in 22.69, just over a tenth slower than the 22.59 Ervin clocked at last week’s Charlotte meet.
Of note in this 50m freestyle race, however, is how much quicker the Japanese field was overall from the same time last year. At the 2014 Japan Open, the fastest time was the 22.85 Hiroaki Yamamoto registered for 1st, followed by a 22.92 and 23.00, making just the top two swimmers dip beneath 23.0. Compare that to this year, where the top 5 finishers (top 4 were Japanese) were well beneath 23.0. (Top 5 times: 22.04, 22.27, 22.69, 22.77, 22.90). This, paired with Nakamura’s 8th-fastest 100m freestyle performance on the year, may signify a shift in sprinting prowess in this typically IM, butterfly and breaststroke-focused squad.
Additional Men Event Winners:
- 100m butterfly – Takeshi Kawamoto earned the men’s 100m butterfly win in 52.08, followed by Australia’s David Morgan who clocked a 52.44 for 2nd place.
- 200m breaststroke – Kazuki Kohinata nabbed the gold in his time of 2:09.51, but it was youngster Ippei Watanabe who scored a new World Junior Record. Watanabe’s time today of 2:09.75 eclipsed his earlier mark of 2:10.23 set back in June 2014. Read more about his feat here.