At the 2019 FINA World Championships, Japan’s 25-year-old Daiya Seto became his nation’s first-ever 200m/400m IM double World Champion.
The Olympic medalist clocked a 400m IM winning effort of 4:08.95 and a 200m IM podium-topping mark of 1:56.14 to make his mark in Gwangju, Korea. His gold medals automatically qualified the versatile star for both events for this year’s Olympic Games, per Japan’s Olympic selection policy.
Taking his on-fire swimming one step further, the Executive Board of the Japanese Swimming Federation today approved Seto’s nomination as captain of the national team at the 2020 Olympic Games. This position carries extra weight as the Games are taking place in his home nation of Japan.
Takayuki Umehara, long-time personal coach of Seto has also been named to the Olympic coaching staff, whose additional positions will be revealed post-Trials.
Seto will still be competing at the Japanese Trials, however, to claim additional qualification in at least the 200m fly, if not other individual events and relay spots.
The Board also approved automatically qualifying any Japanese 2020 Olympic Games medalist for the 2021 FINA World Championships, which are also slated for Japan, hosted by the city of Fukuoka.
Finally, for the first time ever, money prizes will be offered for top finishers at the nation’s Olympic Trials meet, the Japan Swim set for April. The exact amounts and how far out in swimmer placement the prizes will be given are still to be determined.
However, Executive Director Kaname Sakamoto says that the federation sees this as an extra incentive. “We want to make the tournament exciting and we want to lead at the Tokyo Olympics.” (Sanspo)