Dynamic Kosuke Hagino Decides On Olympic Trials Schedule

Multi-event Olympic medal threat Kosuke Hagino from Japan has confirmed his Olympic Trials schedule to his nation’s press today.

Proven to be a weapon of competition destruction across events ranging from the IM to 400m free and the 1500m free to the breaststroke races, the 21-year-old has zeroed in on 3, possibly 4 events to contest at the Japanese National Championships (Trials), slated for April 3rd through April 10th.

While in the midst of a training camp, Hagino’s coach Norimasa Hirai stated that the Olympic medalist will be targeting the 200 IM, 400 IM, 200 free and 200 back for Trials. Hirai did insert a caveat regarding the 200 back however, that, if he were to scratch one race, that would be the one to get the ax.

None of the events identified are truly a surprise, as Hagino has proven his elite caliber of performance in each. At the Japan Swim (National Championships) last year alone, Hagino put the world on notice by scoring eye-popping times across the IM and 200 free events.

At those Championships, Hagino won the 200 IM, 400 IM and 200 free in marks that still found themselves within the world’s top 10 even with Hagino having not swum at the World Championships. His 200m IM ended 2015 as the 3rd-fastest time, his 400m IM wound up as the 2nd-fastest of 2015, while his 200m free and 400m free ended the year positioned as the 5th in the world, respectively.

In fact, Hagino’s 200m IM and 400m IM clockings from April would have garnered the Japanese swimmer a silver in the finals of each of those events in Kazan.

Kosuke Hagino‘s Best Times of 2015

1:45.82 200 free
1:56.30 200 IM
4:08.54 400 IM

After having dropped out of Kazan due to the freak elbow incident just prior to the event’s kick-off, Hagino’s most recent return to the pool was in the form of the 2016 Kosuke Kitajima Cup, which took place on January 30th/31st. In his first race at the meet, Hagino cranked out an impressive 400 IM victory, clocking a time of 4:11.38, a mark which now sits atop this season’s world rankings.

2015-2016 LCM Men 400 IM

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Then the following day, Hagino blasted a time of 1:57.73 to take the 200 IM event, edging out teammate Daiya Seto. Hagino’s mark now sits as the 4th quickest in the world, with Seto touching in 1:57.95.

2015-2016 LCM Men 200 IM

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Assuming Hagino earns his nation’s berth in the aforementioned events, he may have to tackle two American swimming legends to land upon the podium in Rio. It’s looking more and more as though Ryan Lochte will indeed keep the 400m IM on his Olympic Trials schedule, as I believe he should, while both Lochte and 18-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps are favorites to claim roster spots in the 200m IM. Between just Lochte and Phelps, they own the world’s 10-fastest performances in history.

Hagino also has his own countrymen of Seto and Hiromasa Fujimori to worry about in the shorter IM. Both sit atop Hagino in the world rankings at the moment, with Seto having clocked a 1:57.72 at last September’s Intercollegiate Championships, while Fujimori rocked a 1:57.66 at the Perth Super Series against Japan and China just last weekend. Just mere fractions of a second apart from one another, yes, but at a time when everyone is gunning for Olympic roster spots, all it takes is one phenomenal trials swim to make a dream happen.

Looking at the free event, over the past 3 years, Hagino has consistently been his nation’s top 200 freestyler, as well as within the world’s top 10. In 2013, 2014 and 2015, Hagino ended each year with best times of 1:45.93, 1:45.23 and 1:45.82, respectively, with his highest ranking having been sitting in 2nd place at the end of 2014. The top Japanese swimmer in the event thus far is Yuki Kobri, who registered a 1:47.01 last fall.

As for the 200 back, a monster opportunity awaits Hagino to make a run for a medal in that event as well, as he’s historically been his nation’s top performer in the event. His top times include 1:55.12 from 2013 and 1:54.23 from 2014, although he backed off the event during 2015. Teammate Ryosuke Irie took advantage, putting up the 4th-best time in the world last year (1:54.62) while also earning 4th in Kazan (1:54.81).

But, it is indeed tough to pull out a magnificent double on any competitive stage, let alone Trials and then potentially an Olympics.  Tackling the 200m back and 200m IM on teh same night has proven taxing for even the best of swimmers, i.e., Lochte circa 2012, but then again Hagino is just 21-years of age.

Assuming Hagino makes the Japanese roster in all 4 events, his Rio schedule would look like the following:

Saturday, August 6th – 400m IM prelims/final
Sunday, August 7th – 200 free prelims/semi
Monday, August 8th – 200 free final
Wednesday, August 10th – 200 back & 200 IM prelims/200 back & 200 IM semi’s
Thursday, August 11th – 200 back and 200 IM finals

Of course the aforementioned schedule doesn’t include relay swims, of which Hagino would most definitely be a part. The 800m free relay is scheduled for Tuesday, August 9th, so at least that race wouldn’t interfere with the any of the individual events outlined above.

Hagino has participatd in Australia’s New South  State Open Championships in the past, so we may get another glimpse of the Japanese talent in March, with the meet spanning 3 days at Sydney Olympic Park.

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Swimmer A
6 years ago

Assuming he’s not swimming the medley relay on the last day in Rio, he should just swim the 1500. It’s not like he’s gonna have any competition making the team…. Although, I guess even for that he’d have a tough time medaling when Paltrinieri, Cochrane, Jaeger, Horton, and Yang are swimming hot right now. Still, it would be fun to see

6 years ago

No 400free? I’d argue that the 400 free field is COMPARATIVELY weaker than the 200.

Reply to  Peter
6 years ago

No 400 free because men’s 400 free and 400 im are in the first day of competition, so it’s impossible to swim both 400 im and 400 free.
Hagino’s coach was adamant and I think that the most likely schedule at Olympics will be 400im, 200 free, 800 free relay, and 200 im, in order of swims.
In the 200 back there are Larkin, Kawecki, Rylov, Irie and the two Usa (Murphy and Clary?), in the 200 im obviously Phelps and Lochte ..(besides Thiago Pereira, the second Japanese and, who knows?, Cseh), so difficult choice for Hagino, but the choice has been made with 200 im inside and, perhaps, 200 back outside (swimming both 200 back and 200… Read more »

Reply to  paolo
6 years ago

Has anyone done the 400 free – 400IM double successfully at an Olympics before? i.e. got a medal in both? Didnt Ous Mellouli tinker with both as one point?

Reply to  JM90
6 years ago

Petra Schneider (1980 Moscow): 400 IM gold, 400 free silver
Janet Evans (1988 Seoul) 400 IM gold, 400 free gold
Michelle Smith (1996 Atlanta): 400 IM gold, 400 free gold
Kaitlin Sandeno (2004 Athens): 400 IM silver, 400 free bronze
Katie Hoff (2008 Beijing): 400 IM bronze, 400 free silver

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  BeeGees
6 years ago

were these on the same day, though?

Reply to  BeeGees
6 years ago

I love how they are all women and no men. I don’t know if there has been a schedule change in the past, but typically the women’s 400m IM falls on day 1 and 400m free falls on day 2 of competition.

Sydney 2000, men’s 400m free was on day 1 and 400m IM was on day 2. Since Athens 2004, both events have fallen on day 1 of competition.

Team Rwanda
6 years ago

Ryan Lochte is in trouble. Hagino is targeting all his events

6 years ago

One or the other. If he does 200 back, he’s fighting Irie and Larkin. If he does the 200 IM, he’s fighting Phelps and Lochte. The guy is good, and he has a shot against either one of those pairs, separately, but not both pairs on the same day. As a fan, I’d rather he go for a medal in one thing rather than nothing in both.

For the record, I think his best shot to medal (and win) is the 200 IM.

Steve-O Nolan
Reply to  sven
6 years ago

And as a Phelps fan, I really want him to swim 200 back and 200 IM.

I was just as thrilled when Lochte tried it in 2012.

6 years ago

100 Back would be better than 200 Back…

Reply to  bobthebuilderrocks
6 years ago

Absolutely not in my opinion

1) Against specialists like Larkin, Lacourt and obviously the two Usa (Grevers in great shape in the Olympic Year and then Murphy and Plummer ) – and we can add Rylov, Xu, Kawecki, Irie, Walker-Hebborn, Sabbioni to have a deep field and strong semifinals – very thin chances to medal for Hagino in the 100 back.

2) 100 back starts in the first day of competion, and in the first day of competition Hagino has is best chance of gold: the 400 im. I think the best choice for Hagino is focusing on 400 im.

Reply to  paolo
6 years ago

Paolo, 100m back heats are day 2 of competition. IMO, swimming the 200m back would also be a waste of time and energy for him too. The heats, semis and finals appear on the same day as the 200m IM heats, semis and finals. I believe he should target the two IM events and the 200m free. It would’ve been nice to see him swim the heats of the 100m free to post a time for relay consideration.

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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