Although Japan had announced it would not be fielding an official roster for this year’s Short Course World Championships, one of its top athletes will still be competing in Abu Dhabi.
Daiya Seto has confirmed to SwimSwam that he will indeed be diving in when the elite event kicks off on December 16th. Although Seto will be representing Japan, the 27-year-old will be paying his own expenses, as is the case with most competitions once a Japanese swimmer turns professional.
As we reported in October, the Japanese Swimming Federation (JASF) stated, ‘As a result of the COVID-19 epidemic prevention measures, including having to wait 14 days for quarantine, it was decided that Japan will cancel its participation.’
This announcement was made on the heels of Swimming Australia’s August statement that it, too, would not be fielding an official team, although both nations would allow individual athletes to compete.
For Australia, that boiled down to Kyle Chalmers and Holly Barratt. For Japan, the decision resulted in just Seto and Katsuo Matsumoto making the Abu Dhabi trip, although the latter has since pulled out due to Omicron variant concerns.
The nation of Japan placed 8th in the overall medal table 3 years ago at the 2018 edition of the FINA Short Course World Championships in Hangzhou, China. A total of 7 medals were brought home, including 2 golds in the form of Seto’s 200m butterfly victory in a world-record-setting mark of 1:48.24, as well as his 400m IM first place.
The highest placed women’s finisher there in China was represented by Runa Imai who snagged silver in the 100m IM behind winner Katinka Hosszu of Hungary.