Daiya Seto Scorches 4:07.92 400 IM On Day One Of Japan World Trials


Day one of the 2023 Japan Swim got off to a super swift start on both the men’s and women’s sides as swimmers vie for spots on this summer’s World Championships roster.

We reported how leukemia survivor Rikako Ikee logged the fastest 100m fly since her comeback to competitive racing in late 2020.

22-year-old Ikee stopped the clock in a time of 57.68 to take the gold. That not only earned Ikee the victory but also qualified her for the World Championships, dipping under the Japanese Swimming Federation (JASF)-mandated time standard of 57.92.

Ripping the fastest time in the world this season, Daiya Seto topped the men’s 400m IM podium in stunning fashion.

28-year-old Seto fired off a massive 4:07.92 to handily defeat the field, with the next-closest swimmer represented by Tomoru Honda. Honda, who owns the short course 200m fly World Record, snagged silver in 4:10.37 while Kaito Tabuchi hit 4:11.80 for bronze.

Both Seto and Honda cleared the minimum time standard of 4:12.50 to etch their names onto the consideration roster for the home-based World Championships.

As for Seto, his effort tonight easily surpassed the 4:10.14 previous season-best he registered last December to now beat out American rival Chase Kalisz to wear the world rankings crown.

Seto’s result represents the only time in the world under 4:10 and would have won gold at the 2020 Olympic Games.

It also checks in as the versatile athlete’s 2nd best performance to date, sitting only behind his career-quickest 4:06.09 from the 2020 Kosuke Kitajima Cup.

2022-2023 LCM Men 400 IM

4:02.50 WR
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Although he was slightly slower than his morning heats swim, former World Record holder Ippei Watanabe got it done for gold in the men’s 100m breast.

Stopping the clock in a time of 59.62 as opposed to his morning mark of 59.52, Watanabe topped the podium, leading a trio of sub-minute swimmers. Yu Hanaguruma joined him on the podium with a time of 59.76, good enough for silver while Ryuya Mura rounded out the top 3 in 59.93 for bronze.

Unfortunately for Japanese fans, none of the finishers dipped under the JASF time requirement of 59.49 needed to qualify for Fukuoka.

The women’s 200m IM saw 16-year-old Mio Narita beat out reigning Olympic champion Yui Ohashi to capture the gold.

World Junior champion Narita punched a time of 2:10.91 to just get the edge over Ohashi who came into the wall in 2:11.00. Shiho Matsumoto also landed on the podium with a time of 2:11.41 for bronze.

While Ohashi owns the Japanese national record with her lifetime best of 2:07.91 from the 2017 World Championships, teen Narita’s result here was within striking distance of her best-ever 2:10.21 from the 2022 National Sports Festival.

A benchmark of 2:11.47 was set as the time to beat to score a roster spot for Fukuoka so both Narita and Ohashi got the job done tonight. The pair sit just outside the list of top 5 performers in the world this season.

Additional Winners

  • Ikki Imoto retained his top spot from the morning to grab gold in the men’s 400m free. Imoto punched a time of 3:48.93, eking out the victory over Ryo Nakajima. Both men missed the standard for the World Championships, however.
  • The men’s 50m fly saw Takeshi Kawamoto scorch a new national record of 23.13 in the morning heats, a time which ties Italy’s Thomas Ceccon as the top result in the world this season. Kawamoto added slightly but still got to the wall first tonight in a time of 23.16.
  • Miyu Namba fell painstakingly short of qualification en route to winning the women’s 400m free. She touched in a time of 4:07.95 while the JASF-mandated standard sits at 4:07.90. She owns a PB of 4:05.25 in this event from last year’s Olympic Trials, making her Japan’s 2nd-best performer ever.

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Stephen Strange
8 months ago

Daddy Daiya still got it!

8 months ago

.just wait on leon’s 4.02.91 this July.

8 months ago

Can anyone recall any world class male freestyler from Japan? Unlike other strokes, I see little depth of freestylers except Matsumoto.

Reply to  Calisurf
8 months ago

Yamanaka dominated the 200m freestyle in the 1950s. But that’s probably not exactly what you meant 😉

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Calisurf
8 months ago

hagino was 3:43.90 but didnt target the 400 free in his peak

Reply to  Calisurf
8 months ago

They were a powerhouse in the 30s, but not more recently no.

They don’t have anyone else ranked in the top 100 all-time in the 100. Shinri Shioura probably qualifies as world class in the 50.

Reply to  Calisurf
8 months ago

Last time Japan had a world record on the men’s side (long-course only):
50 free: Never
100 free: Never
200 free: 1962
400 free: 1960
800 free: 1951
1500 free: 1956
4 x 100 free: 1958
4 x 200 free: 1963
-> Last time Japan had a freestlye world record (long-course only) on the men’s side: 1963 (4 x 200 free)

Also interesting: Last time GB had a freestyle world record on the men’s side (long-course only):
50 free: Never
100 free: Never
200 free: 1957
400 free: 1919
800 free: 1920
1500 free: 1912
4 x 100 free: Never
4 x 200… Read more »

Reply to  Calisurf
8 months ago

We have three in the top 25 for 1500 as of 2022-2023:

13 – Takeda Shogo

15 – Imoto Ikki

25 – Ayatsugu Hirai

Another three in the 800:

22 – Imoto Ikki

23 – Tabuchi Kaito

24 – Kurokawa Shui

Four in the 400 including:

14 – Honda Tomoru

16 – Nakajima Ryo

There are some others but you get the idea.

We have swimmers that can perform on the world stage here and there but apart from Matsumoto, we don’t really have anyone that can actually compete for any medals anymore.

Reply to  Calisurf
8 months ago

Hagino was a world class 200 and 400 freestyler, Seto used to be able to go 1:45 range in the 200 and nakamura katusmi and Shioura shinri have gone sub 48 in the 100 free and sub 22 in the 50, respectively.

8 months ago

Love seeing Short King Seto back on form. He is swimming the 200 BR here as well right?

Reply to  oxyswim
8 months ago

After SC Worlds, I’m really excited to see what he can do in the 200 breast. I know ZSC is still swimming fast and is the WR holder, but I feel Seto’s path to Olympic gold is a lot stronger through the 200 breast than an IM race.

Reply to  Aquajosh
8 months ago

I’ve been saying this. Seto can win a medal in the 400 IM but he can win gold in the 2 breast.

8 months ago

Is Shoma Sato in the meet?

Reply to  Khachaturian
8 months ago

Yes, finished 4th in 1breast.

Reply to  Khachaturian
8 months ago

Yeah but he hasn’t been on form in a while

8 months ago

Great swim for seto fastest he’s been since 2020 and the fight for silver and bronze just keeps growing. The 4 IM field is getting very fast. From going 4:09 winning Olympic gold in 2021 to having 4 guys right now at sub 4:08 could be huge worlds final this year.

8 months ago

I’m beginning to worry of Japan’s sprint breaststroke. Despite having some of the best 200m breaststrokers, their sprints haven’t been as good. Makes sense that 200m doesn’t translate to 100m the best, but I would still have liked to see them at a Home Worlds

Reply to  Arisuin
8 months ago

Without Koseki anymore the 100 has gotten weak for them. Not enough big muscular power swimmers (hinomoto but he can’t hold it for a 100)

X Glide
8 months ago

Redemption arc for Daddy Daiya

About Retta Race

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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