Breaststroking Legend Kosuke Kitajima Reportedly Announces Retirement

Speaking to the Asian press after his 200m breaststroke race where he registered a time of 2:09.96 for 5th place, the 33-year-old is quoted as saying, “It’s over. I knew my career would end in Rio or here in Tokyo this week. I’ve got no regrets.”

Earlier in the meet, Kitajima finished 2nd in the 100m breaststroke, but was only able to dip beneath that event’s Olympic-qualifying mark in the semi’s. Per the Japanese Federation’s Olympic-qualifying criteria, that wasn’t enough for Kitajima to make his historic 5th Olympic Games.

Back in May of last year Kitajima alluded that he would retire after Rio after already reigning as consecutive Olympic champion in both the 100m and 200m breaststroke events across the Athens and Beijing Olympic Games. In 2010 he swept the breaststrokes at the Pan Pacific Championships in Irvine, California. It was in 2011 that he would earn his last individual medal on an international scale: a silver in the 200m breaststroke at the World Championships in Shanghai.

Below is one Asian news source’s social media announcement of Kitajima’s retirement:

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Swimmer A

Do they have anything like the French team where you can allow up to some number of swimmers to be hand picked, provided they did not meet the qualifying standards? Or is it set in stone, no Kitajima in Rio?

Jacques Swim

I don’t know, but Japanese are very strict with rules, so if there’s nothing that explicitly state they can “save” such situation, they will not “save” him.
Meanwhile, as you have realized, we french are very flexible and bendy. We may say we are strict with qualification, but in the end we bring everyone who will not drown in Rio.

tea rex

Can’t he still qualify for a relay spot???


He can, but Japanese qualification policy does not allow that, as they already have one qualified 100 breaststroker in Yasuhiro Koseki.


What a legend. I still remember his great battles with Brendan Hansen from a while back. A true hero of the sport and to breastrokers everywhere.

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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