HardCore Swim of the Week: Ryosuke Irie dominant in Mare Nostrum’s opener

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Though swimming is growing in popularity and in the money available to top athletes, it’s still difficult to bring in a big  monetary haul in the pool. Even at meets with large prize purses, it typically takes an extremely dominant effort to come away with cash in hand.

In the early goings of the Mare Nostrum tour, Japan’s Ryosuke Irie has been nothing if not dominant.

The diminutive backstroker (Irie is well short of six feet) has been on a tear through the Mediterranean, suffocating the competition with big backstroke swims. Nowhere was this more evident than over the weekend at the Mare Nostrum tour’s Monaco stop.

Irie won both the 100 and 200 backs in convincing fashion, knocking down both Monaco and Mare Nostrum series records with his 100 time of 53.06.

And Irie didn’t just win both. He dominated both, crushing fields full of big names and talented rising swimmers. Fellow Japanese representative Junya Koga, Frenchman Jeremy Stravius, rising Americans Ryan Murphy and Jacob Pebley and Great Britain’s Christopher Walker Hebborn were among the names Irie topped, and the 2012 Olympic silver medalist showed exactly why he’s still in a whole different league entirely with his wins of 53.06 and 1:54.91.

Coming out of Monaco, Irie leads the men’s money list with 1960€, and he’s likely to pass up overall leader Katinka Hosszu this week, as he competes in Canet and Hosszu does not. In fact, earlier today Irie already continued his backstroking prowess, going 1:54.97 for the 200 back title.

We’ll have to wait until this weekend when the tour closes in Barcelona to figure out exactly what kind of money haul Irie will ultimately bring in. But there’s already no doubt that he’s proving to be one of the most dominating swimmers of this summer’s regular season, a prospect that should his end-of-season results all the more highly-anticipated.

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About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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