Japanese native Rikako Ikee was born on July 4, 2000
Ikee burst onto the scene at the 2015 FINA World Junior Swimming Championships held in Singapore. She raced to gold in both the 50m and 100m butterflies, a silver in the 50m freestyle, and 4th place in the 100m freestyle. In both the 50m and 100m butterflies, Ikee set new Championship records.
At the 2015 World Cup in Tokyo, Ikee cranked out a new Japanese National Record in the 100 butterfly, winning the race at the 2015 World Cup in Tokyo in a time of 57.56. That not only crushed her mark of 58.28 that won her the 2015 World Junior Championship title, but it also wiped out the old Japanese National Record of 57.77 set by Yuka Kato in 2012.
She then swam a 26.17 in the 50m butterfly, surpassing the old mark of 26.26. This time still ranks among the fastest in the world this season for a teenager.
Ikee swam a blazing 53.99 in the 100m freestyle to become the first Japanese female to break the 54.00 barrier. She then recorded a new World Junior Record in the 50m freestyle, blasting a 24.74. As a 15 year old, Ikee ranked as the 10th fastest in the world.
2016 Olympic Games
In Rio, Rikako broke her own national record in the 100 fly 3 times, first in prelims (57.27), then semis (57.05), and a third time in finals (56.86) to finish in 6th overall. Rikako also finished 21st in the 200 free, 12th in the 100 free, and 36th in the 50 free.
2017 World Championships
Ikee finished sixth in the 100m butterfly posting a personal best time of 57.08.
In the 4x100m freestyle relay, Ikee led off with a 54.59 followed by Tomomi Aoki, Yui Yamane and Chihiro Igarashi, to finish sixth.
In the 4x200m freestyle relay, Ikee, along with teammates Chihiro Igarashi, Tomomi Aoki, and Aya Takano finished fifth overall with Ikee splitting a 1:57.38.
In the 4x100m mixed freestyle relay, Ikee with teammates Katsuhiro Matsumoto, Katsumi Makamura and Chihiro Igarashi finished fourth missing a medal by just over one second. Ikee split a 53.50 swimming the third leg.
2017 World Junior Championships
Ikee continued her success from Budapest into the World Junior Championships in Indianapolis. She scored golds in the 50m free (24.59), 50m fly (25.46), and 100m fly (57.25), as well as a silver in the 100m free (54.16) and bronzes across the 4×100 free, 4×200 free, and 4×100 medley relays, bringing her total medal haul to 7. In both free relays, Ikee had the fastest split of the entire field, and in the medley relay her fly split was only .03 slower than Penny Oleksiak’s, who was the fastest of the field.
72nd National Sports Festival of Japan
Later in 2017, Ikee competed at the National Sports Festival of Japan, a 2-day event for swimming where the Golden Girl competed in the 50m and 100m free. She won both, taking the top prize in the 50m free with a time 24.33, which lowered her own Junior World Record by .15 from earlier in the year.
えひめ国体 競泳 池江璃花子 50メートル自由形 24秒33 日本新記録 自身の日本記録を0秒15塗り替えました。リオ五輪7位相当の好タイム#池江璃花子#日本記録#競泳#50メートル自由形 pic.twitter.com/rPJ2zNDFgR
— スポニチ記者ツイート スポーツ (@sponichisports) September 16, 2017
2018 Pan Pacific Championships
Rikako Ikee started things off with a medal at pan pacs, touching for silver in the 200 free, just ahead of reigning olympic champ Katie Ledecky with a time of 1:54.85. Ikee was back in the water the same night in the 400 mixed medley relay, splitting 55.53 to help Japan secure silver. After earning double silver, Ikee finally earned her first gold of the meet, registering a 56.08 to blow away the competition and the meet record. On day 4, after placing 6th in the 50 free (24.60), She finished off her pan pacs performance with a bronze in the women’s 4×100 medley relay, pulling butterfly duties with a split of 55.48. The relay would go on to break a Japanese national record.
2018 Asian Games
Rikako continued her huge summer with an even bigger medal haul, garnering 8 medals at the Asian games. This included 4-for-4 in her individual events, in which she set games records in all of them: 50 free (24.53), 100 free (53.27), 50 fly (25.55), and 100 fly (56.30). She also helped Japan to golds in the 4×100 free and medley relays, and silvers in the 4×200 free and 4×100 mixed medley relays.