Hagino, Yamaguchi Post World-Leaders at Tokyo Metropolitan Championships

Kosuke Hagino and a group of breaststrokers combined to put on quite a show over the weekend at Tokyo’s Tatsumi International Pool at the Tokyo Metropolitan Championships.

Hagino put up world-leading times in both the 100 and 200 backstrokes in long course meters, with times of 53.35 and 1:54.77, respectively. Those swims are both faster than he was when he finaled at last summer’s World Championships.

Hagino has been sharp all winter long, after breaking the Asian Record in the 400 SCM IM earlier this month.

While he certainly had the best swims of the meet, he wasn’t the only standout performer, or even new world-leader. In fact, the top three swims in the world so far in 2014 all came out of this meet. The World Record holder Akihiro Yamaguchi was a 2:11.47 to win the men’s race, followed by Yuta Oshikiri and Yukihiro Takahashi. The top 5 swimmers in that race were all under 2:13’s.

Previously, only two Brits, Ross Murdoch and Michael Jamieson, had cleared 2:13 globally this year.

The women’s race displayed a similar level of depth in the 200 breaststroke, as Motegi Yoshisakura was a 2:25.04 in the 200 breaststroke, leading three women who were under 2:27 in that distance.

Also impressive was Miki Uchida in the women’s 100 free.

Several of the above swimmers are now on their way to Perth, Australia for the 2014 BHP Aquatic Super Series meet.

A listing of the top results from the meet, in Japanese, can be found here.

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bobo gigi

He’s crazy good in so many events.
But if he wants to win olympic gold medals, he will have some choices to do.
He must keep his energy for his best title chances.
With Sun Yang, Yannick Agnel and Tae-Hwan Park, I don’t see him any chance to win.
The 100 back is too short for him and the American and French backstrokers are ahead.
The 200 back is on the same day as the 200 IM. He can swim it for fun.
He should focus on both IM events.
He can beat Lochte in the 200 IM.
And he will be the guy to beat in the 400 IM.


You forgot Conor Dwyer and Danila Izotov. Izotov’s been under 1:45 and Dwyer can compete with Agnel.


He’s not very big or tall compared to his competition. Does anyone think he can break a world record being so relatively small?


He’s gotten to this level and is continuing to improve, so I don’t see why he shouldn’t be able to. Does he have the same theoretical ceiling as Lochte or Phelps? Maybe not, and any records he does get might not stand forever, but he’s got the finesse and drive.

It’s also worth noting that he’s only 19 and unlikely to be at his prime already, physically, mentally, or technically.


It seems, shorter swimmers reach physical maturity/peak younger than taller/bigger swimmers. So maybe now is Hagino’s peak?


Yes, there’s a chance. It makes sense to me that a swimmer with a smaller frame will fill it out sooner (although I still doubt he’s as strong as he’ll ever be at 19). So, again, in terms of raw force production/power, he most likely won’t improve as significantly as a 6’4″ 19 year old.

But no matter how smooth his strokes are, the possibility that he’s maxed out his technical potential at 19 is extremely unlikely. The only way Hagino peaks now is if he and his coach believe that his technique can’t get any better, and I can all but guarantee you they’re still talking about it every day.


Note that Yamaguchi, the other swimmer featured in this article, is only 5’9″ and broke the 200 LCM breaststroke world record.


I believe it depends on a stroke. Being tall is probably more important in freestyle than, let’s say, in IM or breastroke. Bobo’s advise is worth pondering for him.

On the other hand, Park Tae-Hwan isn’t a giant either but still a brilliant freestyler. Of course his freestyle technique is among the very best that surely helps him.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder 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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