Daiya Seto Is Back, Enters Top 5 Men’s 400 IM Rankings


In the first head-to-head battle in over a year between men’s 400m IM Olympic champion Kosuke Hagino and Olympic bronze medalist Daiya SetoSeto came out on top in a big way.

Racing in his first competition since having been suspended due to his ethics code violation stemming from an extramarital affair, 26-year-old Seto put up a solid 400m IM time of 4:12.57 to top the men’s field here on day 1 of the 2021 Japan Open.

After establishing himself as the 2nd seeded swimmer out of the morning heats with an AM swim of 4:14.98, the two-time 2019 world champion sliced another 2+ seconds off to land atop the podium in 4:12.57.

Splits for Seto’s gold medal-winning swim included the following:

Although this result sits well outside his lifetime best of 4:06.09 put up around this same time last year, the man’s effort is a very encouraging sign of where his training is at this point in time. By way of his gold medal-winning performances in the 200m IM and 400m IM in Gwangju, Seto has already sealed his Olympic qualification, which means the pressure of merely making his nation’s team in these events has been lifted, giving him a little leeway to hone his craft.

As for Hagino, he settled into 6th place in tonight’s final, posting a casual 4:16.38. Hagino has already been as fast as 4:13.32 as of last December’s Japan Swim, an outing which rendered him as the 4th fastest performer in the world. He now gets bumped to slot #6 (due to Ikari below) as Seto’s swim tonight now ranks him #3 for the season worldwide.

2020-2021 LCM Men 400 IM

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Not to be missed is the fact that 20-year-old Yuki Ikari raced his way to the silver, producing a time less than half a second away from Seto.

Ikari registered a time of 4:12.91 for the runner-up spot, falling only .37 away from his lifetime best of 4:12.54. That outing was logged at the 2019 World University Games (Summer Universiade), where Ikari took the gold in this men’s 400m IM event. Ikari is now 4th in the world this season.

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Seto 200/400 IM Gold in Tokyo
11 months ago

Seto is a beast. I’m glad that he’s in shape.

The unoriginal Tim
11 months ago

Glad Seto is back. Great performances over the past 4 years and I hope to see him fulfill his potential with gold this summer.

11 months ago

4:16.38 as sixth place? Wow, great depth.

11 months ago

Yeah, numbers 3 to 8 in the world rankings of the 400m IM are all japanese.They have 6 swimmers in the 4:12.5 to 4:14.3 range. If Seto wasn’t qualified already he should’ve been worried.

11 months ago

4:12 is not bad but i expected more from him.
He went 4:06 around the same time last year.

Mr Piano
Reply to  whever
11 months ago

He might not be fully tapered this time. Or maybe he is, he’s just kinda out of shape since he’s had a pretty hectic year. I expect the 400 events in 2021 to be a bit slower than normal in an Olympic year

Reply to  Mr Piano
11 months ago

I doubt tapering is an important concept among Japanese swimmers. They swim fast all year round.
Historically Seto’s time at World Championships and Olympics was not much faster (or even slower) than his time in-season.

2016: 4:10.43 in season and 4:09.71 in Rio
2017: 4:07.99 in season and 4:09.41 at WC
2019: 4:07.95 in season and 4:08.95 at WC

Last edited 11 months ago by whever
Mr Piano
Reply to  whever
11 months ago

That just suggests he was tapered for his in season swims, such as U.S and Australian swimmers taper for an Olympic trials, especially if you’re slower at WC in 2017 and 2019 lol. But what do I know? Swimmers never taper actually.

But IF he is unrested now, unlike last January, it’s probably because he wants to put in more good training this year to make up for a tumultuous 2020

Last edited 11 months ago by Mr Piano
Irish Ringer
Reply to  Mr Piano
11 months ago

Factor in the extra land training he was doing, but then got shut down, that could have been a factor too.

Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
Reply to  Mr Piano
11 months ago

His best time in 2017 and 2019 were all set at some small open meet in Europe. Why do you think he tapered for that?

Last edited 11 months ago by Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
Mr Piano
Reply to  Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
11 months ago

I can’t say. Maybe he wanted a confidence boost leading into worlds. Or maybe he wanted to test out his taper and see if he needed to adjust for it leading into worlds. Another possibility is that he missed his taper, which is why he swam so fast in January of 2020.

Reply to  whever
11 months ago

He’s already qualified for the olympics so I don’t think he rested much at all. No point in going 4:06 right now, although it is more entertaining for the swimming world when that does happen

11 months ago

Hell yes!!!

Chalmers > Dressel
11 months ago

This guy has the potential to break phelps 400 IM WR

Reply to  Chalmers > Dressel
11 months ago

I think that 400IM record is on the same level as the 200 back world record, people are in the range of potentially getting close to it but it’s gonna take a special swim/athlete to break it, kinda like Milak with the 200Fly world record

Reply to  Dudeman
11 months ago

The 400IM WR was speedsuit era. Not going down unless someone puts on a speedsuit and has one hell of a swim.

Reply to  Chalmers > Dressel
11 months ago

Phelps speed suit record is untouchable.

Chalmers > Dressel
Reply to  Chalmers > Dressel
11 months ago

Everybody said the same thing for the 200 fly

11 months ago

Good to see him back and racing. Hope to see him to return to his original form in the lead-up to the Olympics, and at the Olympics. He had so much happen to him in 2020.

9 months ago

Lewis Clareburt from New Zealand just went 4.09.87 tonight.

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Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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