2018 MARE NOSTRUM SERIES – MONACO
While competing on the final day of the final stop of this year’s Mare Nostrum Series, 26-year-old Yasuhiro Koseki of Japan knocked out two significant national records. Racing his way to 100m breaststroke gold ahead of international rivals Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands along with Russians Anton Chupkov and Kirill Prigoda, Koseki nailed a monster personal best of 58.78 to overtake the old Japanese national record of 58.90 held by the legendary Kosuke Kitajima.
Entering this weekend’s racing, Koseki’s career-fastest was the 58.96 clocked at this year’s Japan Swim, a mark that came within .06 of Kitajima’s renowned record. His new feat of 58.78, however, keeps the Olympian ranked only behind British maestro Adam Peaty in the world rankings, but creeps him closer to the world record holder’s world-leading time of 58.39. For perspective, Koseki’s 58.78 would have won bronze in Rio and silver at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest.
And the Japanese speedster wasn’t done in Monaco as he beat out the aforementioned Prigoda in the 50m breaststroke shoot-out with a final time of 26.94. That, too, checks-in as a new national record, giving Koseki both sprint breaststroke marks over LCM. He already held Japan’s fastest times in history over SCM, holding times of 26.06 and 56.34 in the 50 and 100, respectively.
Both of Koseki’s 50m and 100m winning times from Monaco also establish new meet records for the Pan Pacs-bound athlete, giving him extra momentum to face the likes of potential Americans Kevin Cordes, Cody Miller, Michael Andrew and Andrew Wilson, among others on his home turf of Tokyo this August. In fact, Koseki was on our SwimSwam ‘ones to watch’ over the next two years as his home nation gets ready to host not only Pan Pacs, but also the 2020 Olympic Games.
Although no longer on the national record board for individual events, Kitajima still remains as a legendary and historic figure for winning back-to-back Olympic gold medals in both the 100m and 200m breaststroke distances at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Games.