Daiya Seto: “I’m Still Picking Up The Pieces” After Olympic Postponement

The postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games has affected virtually everyone across major sport, with athletes reacting to the change in plans with emotions ranging from sadness to relief to re-energized conviction.

Last year’s two-time World Champion Daiya Seto of Japan falls into the latter category, for the first time posting his thoughts on the fact his on-fire journey has taken a shocking detour right when he was red-hot.

“It’s been two weeks since the Tokyo Olympics were postponed,” Seto said via Instagram.

“After that, the national championships [Japan Swim] were also postponed. I have not been able to say anything about next year until now because I just could not come to grips with everything.”

Continuing, the 25-year-old World Record holder said, “I couldn’t think of anything positive to say because I had dedicated myself so much to the Tokyo Olympics. When the postponement was announced I was left with a gaping hole I couldn’t fill – I was empty.

“There was no way I could bring myself to talk about next year and honestly, I’m still struggling to pick up the pieces and regroup. Because of the coronavirus, I’m not training at all these days”, he said.

Still coming to terms with needing to continue his seemingly unstoppable IM prowess for another year, Seto stated, “I need to think about what I need to do realize my dream of winning an Olympic gold medal. The work I have put in has led me to swim faster but I need to build on what I have achieved so far and improve my times even more.

“Whether it’s next year or the year after that, I’m going to stay strong and build it back up slowly but surely in trying to win a gold medal, no matter what. It’s time for me to start again!” Seto said.

“The Olympics, to me, is the absolute dream and on par with nothing else. All the experiences, feelings I have had I owe to the Olympics.”

Seto was the 400m IM bronze medalist at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, but has since been on a tear across the 200m IM, 400m IM, and 200m fly events. He was entering Trials season as far and away the top-ranked 400m IMer with a season-best 4:06.09 and also held a comfortable lead in the rankings in the shorter IM with a season-best of 1:55.55.

Via the man’s performances at last year’s World Championships in Gwangju, Korea, Seto has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games, even amidst postponement, in the 200m and 400m IM. He was set to race the 200m fly at the Japan Swim, owning a world-leading time of 1:52.53 from January of this year.

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東京五輪の延期が決まり2週間が過ぎました。 その間に日本選手権の延期も決まり、自分の中で来年に向けての気持ちの整理ができず、今までコメントを出せずにいました。 覚悟を持って東京オリンピックに向けてトレーニングや調整をしてきたからこそ前向きな発言ができませんでした。延期が決まった時は喪失感で抜け殻になりました。自分はすぐ気持ちを切り替えて来年頑張りますなんて言えなかったし今でもまだ完全に切り替えられてない日々が続いています。コロナの関係もあり練習も全くしてない状態です。 これまで練習をしてきて積み上げて来たことはタイムとして証明できているので今後どうしたら今年以上にタイムを縮め、オリンピックで金メダルという夢を叶えられるか考えたいと思います。 オリンピックは自分にとって何ものにも代えがたい夢の舞台です。こんな思いや経験をさせてくれるのもオリンピック。 来年でも再来年でもいつやっても絶対に金メダル獲ってやると強い気持ちを少しずつ作っていき、また再スタートをします! #ANA #JSS #TeamVISA #VISA #ajinomoto #arena #bose #pandg #P&G #swimming #olympic #tokyo2020

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6 months ago

I hope he isn’t gonna lose his shape for next year and will give the world amazing performances as we were expecting for 2020.

6 months ago

Seems like he may have lost some of his edge. MA and C Foster will only get better over next 15 months. Hopefully he can pull it together.

Reply to  PhillyMark
6 months ago

Seto doesn’t have to be at his best to beat those two next year. I hope for he’s able to recapture his recent form next year though

Sun Yangs Hammer
Reply to  CACrushers
6 months ago

I partially agree but there is an argument to be made for MA. He has a full year to build the endurance to come home in a 28 mid which is average for IMers and would put him at 1:55 low

Reply to  PhillyMark
6 months ago

I wouldn’t even go that far yet. It’s only been two weeks. The guy has a right to be disappointed, but he’s a world class professional athlete. As soon as he can get back in a pool again, you know he’ll be doing everything he can to ensure he gets a gold at his home games

Reply to  PhillyMark
6 months ago

A long way to drop for Foster to get down to that level in a single year. It took Phelps 4 years to get from 4:10 at 18 down to a 4:06 in Melbourne. Hagino went 4:08.94 in London as a junior and took 4 years to get to 4:06 low.

A year longer gives Foster a real chance to medal given how open the event looks behind Seto, but the gold is too far I think this time.

Mr Piano
Reply to  Togger
6 months ago

Phelps swam his 4:09.09 and 4:06.22 at the very end of a long meet, he’s described those races as the most tired he’s ever been. I don’t know what Foster can do but his Olympic Trials lineup will have him fresh.

Reply to  Mr Piano
6 months ago

True, but at the Olympics everyone’s fresh for the 400 IM.

The men’s 400 IM just seems to be one where people work their way up to gold, not come from way back to take it. All of the Olympic/World champions since 2008 have been guys with senior international pedigree before they took that win.

I think the combination of endurance and excellence across all 4 strokes just takes a while to build up.

Jolynn Swimmer
6 months ago

I am sad for Seto and other athletes. I know they have trained with all in for ‘that day this year.’ I hope this is a good time for him to spend time with his wife and little girl. Olympics and OT -postponed, and many feel relieved because they were not ready with no or little training they can do. My question is how many will be ready next year with the pools and training facilities are closed and will close for unknown period. There is a big gap in training status now as it seems some groups of swimmers are still managing to swim somewhere and others none… For the latter, they would have to start going back in… Read more »

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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