Black Cloud Lingers Over Next Week’s Japan Swimming C’ships


  • Tuesday, April 2nd – Monday, April 8th
  • Tatsumi International Swimming Center, Tokyo, Japan
  • LCM
  • Qualifying Meet for 2019 World Championships
  • Meet Site
  • Psych Sheets (in Japanese)

This year’s Japan Swimming Championships, the meet which serves as the nation’s primary qualifying competition for the 2019 World Championships, will have a black cloud raining overhead when racing begins on Tuesday, April 2nd.

One of Japan’s most promising medalists for Tokyo, Rikako Ikee, announced in February that she was diagnosed with leukemia, and has since been fighting the disease while undergoing treatment.

In another blow to the team, although less dire in the grand scheme of life, Olympic champion Kosuke Hagino, announced he would be withdrawing from these championships in order to reassess his swimming motivation and get his mind and body right for another potential push for Tokyo 2020.

Then, just today, 2018 Short Course World Championships bronze medalist Hiromasa Fujimori has been suspended by the Japanese Swimming Federation due to failing a doping test in Hangzhou.

Even with these calamities, Team Japan is still stacked with talent ripe to make their marks at this year’s biggest intentional swimming competition. Next we’ll see the likes of newly-minted 200m fly short course World Record holder Daiya Seto in the pool, along with reigning 200m breast (LCM) World Record holder Ippei Watanabe

Speedsters Katsumi Nakamura and Shiri Shioura will duel in the men’s 50m and 100m freestyle events, while Chihiro Igarashi will try to fill some very big Ikee shoes in the women’s 100m and 200m freestyle events.

Yui Ohashi is set to do damage across the women’s 200m fly and 200m/400m IM, while Olympian Ryosuke Irie is ready to rock in his signature backstroke events.

We reported back in October of last year how Japanese Swimming National Head Coach and Chief Executive Norimasa Hirai said that the Japanese qualification times for this year’s World Championships would be stiffer in years’ past.

Previous World Championships qualification standards were based off of world-ranked times more in the 24th position, but this time around, the QT’s will be based off of the time ranked 16th in the world as of the conclusion of 2018. The federation is emphasizing it’s not enough to just qualify for the Championships, but finals appearances are expected for those qualifying for Gwangju.

Looking at the 2018 final world rankings, below is how the qualification times shake out for next week’s Japan Championships, unless something has been altered in the federation’s stance as of publishing.

Men Event Women
21.87 50 Free 24.66
48.24 100 Free 53.56
1:46.35 200 Free 1:56.84
3:47.07 400 Free 4:06.73
7:51.73 800 Free 8:27.60
14:58.88 1500 Free 16:07.48
24.81 50 Back 27.85
53.6 100 Back 59.62
1:57.04 200 Back 2:08.58
27.06 50 Breast 30.72
59.46 100 Breast 1:06.83
2:08.97 200 Breast 2:23.74
23.37 50 Fly 26.03
51.65 100 Fly 56.08
1:55.76 200 Fly 2:08.11
1:58.17 200 IM 2:11.14
4:14.26 400 IM 4:38.27


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About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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