Daiya Seto Bests Hagino in Men’s 400 IM Battle of Titans at Japan Open

Day 2 (out of 3) at the 2013 Japan Open in Kanagawa may have settled down a little as the session got later, it started with some very hot swimming to begin the day, including a pair of lightning-fast 400 IM’s.

First, in the women’s race, 18-year old Miyu Ootsuka came within a second of a 13-year old National Record with a 4:36.87. That record, set in September of 2000 by Yasuko Tajima at 4:35.96, is the oldest Japanese National Record in either long course or short course.

Miho Takahashi was 2nd in 4:40.23.

In the men’s race, it wasn’t the long course star Kosuke Hagino who took the victory, rather it was Short Course World Champion Daiya Seto who won in 4:10.90.

The difference in this race was the breaststroke leg, where Hagino has been at his weakest in contrast to most Japanese IM’ers that we see. He made a big move on the freestyle leg, but just ran out of room and finished in 4:11.23. Hiromasa Fujimori fell off on the last leg, where most of the Japanese IM’ers struggle, and was 3rd in a 4:14.02.

Hagino’s time was almost four seconds slower than his National Record swim from April, which again shows that he’s bucking the trend in this country of being almost as good in-season as out of season (though, a 4:11 is still better than just about anybody will go in-season anywhere in this race.)

Things continued to be very fast into the women’s 50 butterfly, where Yuka Katou won in 26.25, followed by Misaki Agou in 26.99. Katou is not on the World Championship roster, but that time was close to a National Record and moves her to 10th in the world in 2013.

Sinri Shioura was equally-close to a record in the men’s race, winning in 23.78. He was one of an amazing four swimmers better than 24 seconds in a race where the Japanese don’t usually have a ton of depth.

Things started to cool off a little in the 50 breaststroke. Satomi Suzuki was the only swimmer better than 32 seconds with a 31.94 for the win, and she was followed by Maya Hamano in 32.11.

The men’s 50 breasststroke was won by Kouichirou Okazaki in 27.42, just a tenth from the National Record and placing him 7th in the world this year. He was followed by a tie for second between Ryouta Nomura and Hiromasa Sakimoto in 27.88. Kosuke Kitajima, who won the 100 breaststroke on Friday, was 4th in 27.96.

Chihiro Igarashi won her second middle-distance freestyle event of the meet with a 4:11.66 in the 400. She put up a great last 50 to pull away from Aya Takano (4:13.01.) Syou Sotodate won the men’s race in 3:50.56.

With Aya Terakawa sticking to her guns about no longer swimming the 200 backstroke, 18-year old Sayaka Akase won in 2:10.20, followed by Miyu Ootsuka in 2:10.42.

The men’s race had just one star, but he showed off his big guns on Saturday. Ryosuke Irie won in 1:55.39. That’s not his best time of the year, but it’s better than anyone from outside of Japan has been in 2013.

And finally, in the 100 free, Yayoi Matsumoto won the women’s race in 55.21, followed by 17-year old Miki Uchida in 55.33. National Record holder Haruka Ueda was only 4th in 55.61, as this Japanese women’s sprint group struggles to follow up on a big year in 2013.

Kenta Ito won the men’s race in 48.92: one of only three swimmers to dip under the 50 second barrier (though Hagino, not generally a sprinter, was one of them in 49.77.)

Full, live meet results available here.


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Philip Johnson
8 years ago

Like I said before, Japan has some young swimmers that are going to dominate for the years to come. Japan won 3 silvers and 8 bronze medals last year, and don’t be surprised if those change to gold. They may even give the mighty China or France a run for it’s money in the gold medal count in the upcoming years as well. Too bad these youngsters didn’t peak in London or it would’ve been a totally different story.

Reply to  Philip Johnson
8 years ago

Too bad indeed for these japanese medalists that they didn’t reach the top position. The Japan Swimming Federation offered 30 million yen (app. $350,000) in price money for a gold medal in London.

But like you said, it is possible that these silver and bronze medals will turn into gold medals sooner or later. Let’s hope the prize money is still there when that happens.

8 years ago

Irie has been closer slower in his races this year than in recent years, I wonder if its because he’s training less being the post Olympic year, his training has changed and he’s less rested, or because his body, being older, doesnt recover as quickly from workouts and so hes slower in season

bobo gigi
8 years ago

Yes Japan has a promising generation but I’m cautious. They are fast at a young age very often and don’t improve so much then. And we are also used to seeing most of the Japanese swimmers able to swim fast times during all season. So I’m cautious before calling them future big stars.

Reply to  bobo gigi
8 years ago

Including Hagino at that point?

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Rafael Teixeira
8 years ago

Bobo I agree, those Japanese swimmers seem to be always swimming fast in-season, and one could wonder if they will get burnt out before Barcelona. Or get burnt out before they reach their peak ages.

Reply to  bobo gigi
8 years ago

I definitely think Hagino is future big star.

His Japanese trials times are on par if not better than Phelps ca. 2003-2004

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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