Gold medalist in the women’s 200m breaststroke at the 2018 Asian Games, Kanako Watanabe of Japan, plans on changing coaches after she graduates from Waseda University in March 2019.
The 21-year-old will be re-joining her childhood coach of Yoshiaki Takemura, a leader who has served as Japanese National Team Head Coach in the past and who helped guide Watanabe in Rio. (Sanspo)
Watanabe became world champion the 200m breast at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, while she also nabbed silver at that meet in the 200m IM. Although she didn’t even make Japan’s squad for the 2017 edition of the World Championships, she bounced back with 3 golds at that year’s World University Games, including in the women’s 100m and 200m breaststroke races.
She finished the 2017/18 season ranked 8th in the world in the 200m breast and 23rd in the 200m IM.
Watanabe isn’t the only high-profile Japanese racer to change coaches as of late. In May, Olympic finalist and Pan Pacs champion Rikako Ikee revealed she would begin training under Jiro Miki, a former Olympic finalist himself.
Translation assistance provided by Rebecca Nishikawa-Roy.