Hagino Heads Up Japanese Money Chase At Konami Open


The final meet within the trio of Japanese ‘K’ competitions is set to take place this weekend in Tokyo, as the 2020 Konami Open kicks off on Saturday, February 15th.

Situated after both the Kosuke Kitajima Cup and the Kirara Cup, the Konami Open holds extra significance in this Olympic year, giving both veterans and rising swimming stars within Japan additional chances to fine-tune their racing craft before the all-important Japan Swim.

Set for April, the Japan Swim represents the nation’s Olympic Trials and the sole qualification opportunity for athletes to qualify for a home nation-hosted 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

However, this Konami Open also represents a lucrative earning opportunity as well. As we reported, organizers of the 36th Konami Open have sweetened the pot big-time in terms of incentives, offering up a whopping 30 million yen prize to anyone who breaks a World Record at the meet. That equates to approximately $275,000 for anyone who fires off the fastest time ever in an event, across men’s or women’s races.

Also up for grabs is a prize worth 5 million yen (approximately $50,000 USD) for any Japanese swimmer who produces a new national record at the meet.

Multi-short course World Record holder Daiya Seto‘s name does not appear on the start lists for the IMs, which can be good or bad for domestic rival Kosuke Hagino. Hagino is entered in both the 200m and 400m IM events.

On the one hand, having Seto to chase could be motivation for Hagino to race his way to better times than the 1:59.35 and 4:16.86 he’s put up in the short and long IM events, respectively, this season. However, on the other hand, not having Seto in the water may give Hagino the boost he needs to shine alone and stake a claim on Olympic qualification with statement swims here.

Seto will instead be contesting off events of the 200 free and 100 breast.

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The Unoriginal Tim
7 months ago

Really interesting. I wondered if the money would tempt Seto but who wants to be chasing NRs and WRs in Feb of Olympic year.

Casas 100 back gold in Tokyo
Reply to  The Unoriginal Tim
7 months ago

They should save the money to reward swimmers who break WRs at the Olympics.

Reply to  The Unoriginal Tim
7 months ago

Can guarantee you that no long course WR will be threatened at this meet. That’s a gimick. Japanese national record perhaps.

7 months ago

Interesting psychological dilemma there but I say Hagino is better off headlining this meet with clean water out ahead of him versus chasing Seto’s wake. I am sure he is all too aware of Seto’s form and recent accomplishments for positive incentive whether Seto is at the meet or not. He may feel differently and prefer to go head to head with Seto at any given place and time or he may be indifferent to Seto for all I know and not base his training or racing on who is in the next lane.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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