Dolfin Swim of the Week: Shinnosuke’s 51.1 Fly Bodes Well For Japan Medley

Disclaimer: Dolfin Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The  Dolfin Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.

19-year-old Shinnosuke Ishikawa is rising fast in the butterfly races – and that’s good news for Japan’s medley relay.

Ishikawa was a standout this week at the Japanese Swimming Championships, blasting a 51.11 in the 100 fly. That’s a massive swim for Ishikawa, whose previous personal best was 51.9, and who went 52.0 over the summer to tie for World University Games gold.

Ishikawa’s swim is the fastest by a Japanese swimmer since the super-suit era of 2009. And it’s not particularly close. The Japanese record is a 51.00 from Kohei Kawamoto in 2009. Since the beginning of 2010, the fastest Japanese man had been a 51.43 from Naoki Mizunuma this past April. But Ishikawa went a good three tenths faster than that this week.

In fact, Ishikawa’s individual, flat-start swim was actually faster than either relay split Mizunuma (51.76 in prelims; 51.16 in finals) put up at the World Championships. His swim represents a huge boost to Japan’s medley, which was 4th at the World Championships while losing 0.3, 1.9 and 0.6 seconds to the medal-winning teams on the fly leg.

And it’s not just speculation that Ishikawa could be faster with a relay start. He also swam on a medley relay at Japan’s championship meet this week, splitting 50.72.

Japan had the fastest non-Adam Peaty breaststroke leg of any relay in the Worlds final last year, along with the 4th-ranked free leg. Ishikawa’s split would have been 3rd among flyers, giving Japan a fighting chance at a medal in front of the home crowd at next summer’s Olympics.


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About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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