Hagino Breaks Two Japanese Records; Women Start Slow But Finish Strong on Day 3 of Japanese Nationals

The 2014 Japanese National Championships in Tokyo saw their 3rd day on Saturday. While this day was more up-and-down than the first two, a pair of Japanese Records (one of which was also an Asian Record) from Kosuke Hagino left excitement in the air at the Tatsumi International Swim Center.

A reminder of the Pan Pacs qualifying standards can be found here.

Women’s 800 Free – FINALS

The Japanese women lost a lot of momentum at the end of Friday’s finals session, where they had only a single qualifier in the last two individual events of the day.

When Saturday’s finals rolled around, things didn’t look much better, though the opening women’s 800 free wasn’t a total loss. There, Chida Asami won in 8:36.92 to be the lone qualifier for Pan Pacs. Of course, an 8:36 really isn’t much of a time, however it is two seconds faster than she was to win this race last year, and most of the field was faster than last year.

Last year’s top 4: 38/43/44/46
This year’s top 4: 36/40/43/43

It’s really quite strange what has happened to this Japanese women’s distance group since 2012. At Japan’s 2012 Olympic Trials, an 8:36 would’ve only placed 8th, as compared to this year where it won. It’s not as though that top 7 in 2012 were old – nobody in that race is older than 24 right now (and a couple are still teenagers), yet the quality just has disappeared.

Women’s 50 Back – FINALS

The 2nd race of the night was also a women’s race, and much as they struggled in the 100 back on Friday, this 50 wasn’t much better. Miyuki Takemura won in 28.32, followed by 36-year old Noriko Inada (28.42) and Emi Mornuki (28.57).

Unfortunately, none of those top three swimmers were under the qualifying standard, so none have initially qualified for Pan Pacs. At this point of Saturday’s session, the last four women’s races had seen only two qualifiers, which is contrast to the nearly-full lineups earlier in the meet.

Men’s 50 Back – FINALS

Things really started to take off on Saturday evening when two of Japan’s all-time great backstrokers went 1-2 in the men’s 50 backstroke. Junya Koga took the gold in 24.68 and Ryosuke Irie took 2nd in 24.86, both of which fall under the qualifying standard.

That’s a second solid backstroke swim for Irie in this meet, and with how fast Kosuke Hagino has looked in the longer races this week (more on him later in this session), the 200 could be the battle-of-the-meet.

Men’s 400 Free – FINALS

Speaking of Kosuke Hagino, he began his day with a 3:43.90 in the men’s 400 freestyle, which earns him plenty of superlatives and accolades. For starters, it launches him to 2nd in the World Rankings this year. That’s a World Ranking that so far looks as though it might be a gauntlet over the summer for Hagino, as most of the top 10 (with two Brits being the exception) will race at the Pan Pacs.

2014 LCM Men 400 Free TYR World Ranking

View Top 51»

What’s more, that’s a new Japanese National Record, breaking his own 3:44.82 set at the World Championships last summer. Hagino’s versatility is just incredible.

He was way out in front of the field in this one, turning in 1:51.50 en route to that swim. That 200-meter split is actually very similar to the split of James Guy, who broke the British Record on Thursday. Those two won’t get to match up this summer, but if these two swims were superimposed upon each other, they’d look something like this:

  • Guy (Britain): 54.02 — 1:51.87 — 2:49.06 == 3:45.15
  • Hagino (Japan): 53.66 — 1:51.50 — 2:48.47 == 3:43.90

Guy really did good work on the back half of his 400, which highlights just how fast Hagino came home in this race.

Women’s 200 Fly – FINALS

The Japanese women sprang to life in the 200 fly; according to our World Rankings editor Shannon MacDonald, the entire A and B finals jumped into the World’s top 50 after this event.

At the top of that heap was a 2:05.98 from Natsumi Hoshi, that jumped her to the head of the World Rankings in 2014. There’s still a few swimmers around with championships yet to go (the Chinese at their Nationals, Katinka Hosszu at Maria Lenk in a week) who could unseat her before the big international meets start this summer, but that’s a good leadup swim for Hoshi going into Pan Pacs. She typically hits the second taper very well.

2014 LCM Women 200 Fly TYR World Ranking

View Top 51»

In 2nd place was 14-year old Haruno Itou in 2:09.88. The young swimmer was behind Hoshi most of the way, but put in context of her age, she had a very good first 150 meters before falling off on the home-stretch. She’s got a bright, bright future ahead of her.

Yai Watanabe took 3rd in 2:10.19, followed by Kona Fujita in 2:10.33.

Men’s 200 Fly – FINALS

Daiya Seto won the men’s 200 fly in 1:54.84 with a come-from-behind victory over Kenta Hirai (1:55.27). Those two will both move into the top 5 in the world rankings as well.

Hirai led almost this entire race, until the last 30 meters or so where Seto surged passed him

Placing 3rd was Masato Sakai in 1:56.26, and Kou Fukaya was 4th in 1:56.35.

In a continuing theme of this men’s meet, the young is pushing out the veterans in Japanese swimming (don’t be surprised if we see a mass retirement in Japan this summer). The two-time Olympic bronze medalist Takeshi Matsuda, now 29-years old, took 5th in 1:56.94. That’s still a very good time (he might even have made the U.S. Worlds team with it last summer), but the depth in front of him isn’t going anywhere.

Women’s 200 IM – FINALS

Kanako Watanabe looked great in the 100 breaststroke final earlier in this meet, but that hasn’t hindered her transition over to a world-class IM’er, either. The 17-year old won the 200 IM in 2:11.04, beating out Miho Teramura, who was 2:11.62.

This was a fun race to watch, as the two are very similar IM’ers. Teramura is a little bit better on the backstroke, Watanabe is a little bit better on the breaststroke, but despite the back-and-forth, nobody made much headway until the closing freestyle leg.

Both they and 3rd-place finish Sakiko Shimizu (winner of the 400 IM) in 2:12.87 were under the Pan Pacs qualifying standard. Miho Takahashi took 4th in 2:12.95, and 14-year old Hiroko Makino was 5th in 2:13.24 – which is a new Japanese Age Record.

Men’s 200 IM – FINALS

Closing the session with not just an exclamation but a thunderbolt, Kosuke Hagino won the men’s 200 IM in a new Japanese and Asian Record of 1:55.38. That improves upon his 1:55.74 that he swam to win this race last year.

As discussed on Thursday after a great 400 IM swim, though, Hagino struggled in this 200 IM to improve last year after the Japanese Championships as well, so a challenge still remains even though he looks like a favorite for gold at the Pan Pac Championships.

Hiromasa Fujimori took 2nd in 1:57.77, and Daiya Seto took 3rd in 1:57.92.

Full meet results after 3 days are available here. Note that they are in reverse order of event swim.

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bobo gigi
9 years ago

Impressive quality of times in the women’s 200 breast final with 8 girls in 2.26 or less.
I’m not going to compare with the 200 breast of the French championships today. :mrgreen:
If we have a girl in 2.28 it will be very good. 😥
Kanako Watanabe wins in 2.21.09.
Rie Kanetou is second in 2.21.58.
The very young Runa Imai is fifth in 2.24.53.

Average times in the men’s race
Kazuki Kohinata wins in 2.09.67.
Yamaguchi only 4th in 2.10.33. He struggles since his crazy summer of 2012.

Reply to  bobo gigi
9 years ago

I am excited about another Japanese pixie swimmer: Kanako Watanabe.

This year could be her breakthrough year, after first showing the world of her talent at 14 yoin 2011 by swimming 2:23, followed by almost two years of very little improvement, and then started to show marked improvement early this year, especially in 200 IM, and now she broke her 200 breast PB by more than a second.

She is following in the quite rare tradition of Amanda Beard and Leisel Jones who excelled in both 200 breast and 200 IM.

Reply to  bobo gigi
9 years ago

I think it’s all mental for Yamaguchi and he is not prepared for the pressure after breaking WR at a quite young age. This reminds me of Rebecca Brown who broke 200 breast WR at the age of 15 and felt the crazy pressure of Australia hope and never again swam close to her WR (around 2:24 at that time).

bobo gigi
9 years ago

Takuro Fujii wins the men’s 100 fly in 51.84. Best time of the year so far.

Reply to  bobo gigi
9 years ago

Comparisons of time between Phelps, Hagino and Lochte at the age of 19:

200 free: 1:45.32
100 fly: 51:25
200 fly: 1:54.04
200 IM: 1:57.14
400 IM: 4:08.26
200 back: 1:55.86

200 free: 1:45.89
100 back: 53.08
200 back: 1:54.23
200 IM: 1:55.38
400 IM: 4:07.61

Lochte (at the age of 20, because I really can not find his LCM times from when he was 19) :
200 free: 1:48.65
100 back: no data
200 back: no data
200 IM: 1:58.78
400 IM: 4:17.45

Reply to  aswimfan
9 years ago

Oh, I forgot to add Hagino’s 400 free of 3:43.90

bobo gigi
9 years ago

Hagino has the same problems of rich as Lochte. 🙂
The 200 back and the 200 IM finals are on the same day at the olympic games.
Which event is the best for him?
Of course he can still improve in the 200 back but the adversity looks much harder in that race with Lochte (if he still swims that race), Clary, Irie, Kawecki and the young Americans like Murphy and Conger.
In the 200 IM I see only Lochte as threat for him.
Problems of rich. 🙂

Reply to  bobo gigi
9 years ago

He has more chance to win 200 IM than 200 back in Rio. There are only two guys ever went faster than him in 200 IM and they will be well in their 30s in Rio. And the rest of the field are at least more than a second slower.
Meanwhile, in 200 back, there are two faster swimmers who will be in peak in Rio (Clary and Irie), in addition to the 30+ yo RL, as well as Radoslaw Kawecky who has swum 1:54.2 last year, as well as rapidly improving Murphy, Conger, etc.

This is maybe suck for him to not swim 200 back at the olympics, but remember that Lochte himself attempted the same exact double… Read more »

bobo gigi
9 years ago

Great final day so far.
I continue to be very impressed by the depth of Japan swimming.
So many young talents.
Again, they have everything to be the second swimming power in the world.
Only their freestyle, and especially on the women’s side, looks weak.

Back to the final day.
Shinri Shioura wins the men’s 50 free in 21.88. New Japan record!
Fantastic battle between Irie and Hagino in the 200 back!
Irie wins in 1.53.91 ahead of Hagino in 1.54.23.
Irie was in 55.57 at the half-race vs 56.45 for Hagino!
What a finish for Hagino!

Reply to  bobo gigi
9 years ago

That is another PB for Hagino. His previous PB was 1:54.77 from earlier this year after 1:55.12 last year.

So in this meet, Hagino has set PBs in 200/400 free, 100/200 back and 200 IM!

Irie just missed his textile PB of 1:53.78 set in London winning silver.

9 years ago

Success usually begets success for the Japanese. When someone wins an event at the Olympic or World level, they tend to stay strong in those events. It’s hard to believe that Japan is 10 years removed from an Olympic gold medal in the women’s 800 when the winning time is 8:36. Ai Shibata must be shaking her head.

Reply to  Josh
9 years ago

Yes, it is very strange that their w 400-800 are so slow when their w 200/400 IM and 200 fly are so strong.

Pay attention to their 14 yo girl who won the 400 IM B final in 4:41, whose name escaped me at the moment.

bobo gigi
Reply to  aswimfan
9 years ago

Hiroko Makino in 4.41.92

Reply to  bobo gigi
9 years ago

Thanks! That’s the one.
But of course she could also easily turn out to be one of those numerous young japanese swimmers who swam crazy fast times only to swim mediocre when they grow adult.

9 years ago

In regards to his future i think it is far more likely he will be replaced by a much faster, much younger Japanese swimmer that we have never heard of until he explodes onto the world scene

9 years ago

Does China compete at Pan Pacs?

Reply to  Floppy
9 years ago

And… does Hagino have any fast times in breaststroke or fly? His Bk/Fr combo is top-notch, but I his short-axis strokes must be pretty good too to put up a 1:55.3 IM.

Reply to  Floppy
9 years ago

He has a 1:56 in the 200fly from last year. Breastroke is his weak stroke. Essentialy, at this point, if he improves his breaststroke to Phelps’ level, we’d be looking at World Record territory, which is frightening. Even though he hasn’t posted the times to support it, his IM achievements suggest that he is probably as good a 200backstroker as Lochte, and almost as good at the fly.

Reply to  Braden Keith
9 years ago

Yeah, just echoing Braden. China will likely send a very small contingent to Pan Pacs, but you can bet everything you own that they will send full team, with all the superstars and super ready to 2014 Incheon where China find a medium to assert their superpower sporting status and will try put in pace their neighbors: South Korea and Japan.

This time around, they may only find majority golds/medals in the womens events, as South Korea will have Park Tae Hwan, and Japan will be spearheaded by Hagino, Irie, and Matsuda, so they’ll depend on Sun Yang to win some golds.

Reply to  aswimfan
9 years ago

I would expect China to grab ALL freestyle golds..

Ning Zetao gets 50/100 free.. sun get all the rest..

And their relays are over much bette.. remember china has 2 guys who already went 47 relay start.. Sun 48 low.. no other asian country is even near that.. and 4×200 relay… while Japan is overall better.. if at last part of the race JPN is not 2 3 seconds ahead of China is game over when Sun dives..

Reply to  Rafael
9 years ago

Sun Yang can easily get golds in 400-1500 and face more challenges to win 200 but It’s hard to get a podium position in 50/100 for Ning Zetao in Pan Pacs. You forget James Magnussen, Cameron Mcevoy, Nathan Adrian, Jimmy Feigen, Cesar Cielo, Brent Hayden, etc…

Reply to  Rafael
9 years ago

Hoangle – I think Raf was referring to 2014 Asian Games, not Pan Pacs. They’re a huge deal and it’s not unreasonable to think that some of China’s big guns are saving up for that.

Reply to  Rafael
9 years ago

Exactly.. I don´t think Zetao will even final if the field is full on Pan pacs..

But on Asian Games they have a good shot of getting all freestyle male golds.. including relays..

By the way.. Hayden is retired

Reply to  Rafael
9 years ago

That’s true that China will have a shot at all mens free golds at the AG.
But NIng Zetao will have equal adversaries in Park Tae Hwan and Shinri Shioura. Ning will have bigger chance in 50 free.

In 200 free, Yang won’t have it all his way, as park will certainly put up resistance. The last time they square-off, it was a draw (2012 London), and this year Park seemed to have picked up a bit more speed (48.4 in 100).

Reply to  Rafael
9 years ago

I spoke too soon!

Shinri Shioura just swam 21.88, an asian record. So Ning Zetao’s chances to win 50-100 has suddenly become a lot harder.

9 years ago

Where has Katinka Hosszu been? Shouldn’t she have swam about 396 races so far this year?

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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