Hello Tokyo: Daiya Seto Logs 4:06.09 Lifetime Best 400 IM, Now 5th Fastest Ever


We’ve already seen some stellar performances here at the 2020 Kosuke Kitajima Cup, to the tune of 30-year-old Ryosuke Irie‘s 52.59 100m backstroke and Katsuhiro Matsumoto‘s 1:45.82 200m free.

However, day 2 brought things to an entirely new level once two-time 2019 World Champion Daiya Seto entered the pool for the 400m IM.

Setting himself apart from the competition early, one which saw Japanese national record holder Kosuke Hagino scratch this morning, Seto posted a heat swim of 4:11.85. That time alone ranks 4th in the world since September 2019 and fell within 2 seconds of Seto’s own season-best of 4:10.04 from November.

Flash forward to tonight’s final, however, and Seto pumped out something truly special, posting a monster 4:06.09 to take gold and produce his nation’s 2nd fastest performance of all-time. His 4:06.09 outing tonight missed Hagino’s national record of 4:06.05 by only .04, checking in as a huge new meet record and another boost of confidence heading into a home nation-hosted Olympic Games.

Splits for Seto’s swim tonight: 24.88 54.22 1:26.31 1:57.68 2:32.44 3:07.51 3:37.37

Entering tonight’s race, Seto’s lifetime best in the 400m IM rested at the 4:07.95 he registered at the 2019 Sette Colli Trophy in Italy.

Putting Seto’s swim into perspective, the man now becomes the 5th fastest performer all-time in the event, booting Hungarian swimming icon Laszlo Cseh to spot #6 among the titans.

Top 5 Men’s 400 IM Performers All-Time

  1. Michael Phelps (USA) 4:03.84, 2008 Olympic Games
  2. Ryan Lochte (USA) 4:05.18, 2012 Olympic Games
  3. Chase Kalisz (USA) 4:05.90, 2017 World Championships
  4. Kosuke Hagino (JPN) 4:06.05, 2016 Olympic Games
  5. Daiya Seto (JPN) 4:06.09, 2020 Kosuke Kitajima Cup

Even more enlightening perhaps is the fact that his performance now ranks as the 7th fastest time ever produced, getting on the list despite the Michael Phelps vs. Ryan Lochte showdown years. His time also establishes the world’s fastest in over 2 years, since American Chase Kalisz‘s 4:05.90 podium-topper at the 2017 World Championships.

Top 5 Men’s 400 IM Performances All-Time

  1. 4:03.84 Michael Phelps (USA), 2008 Olympic Games
  2. 4:05.18 Ryan Lochte (USA), 2012 Olympic Games
  3. 4:05.25 Michael Phelps (USA), 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials
  4. 4:05.90 Chase Kalisz (USA), 2017 World Championships
  5. 4:06.05 Kosuke Hagino (JPN), 2016 Olympic Games
  6. 4:06.08 Ryan Lochte (USA), 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials
  7. 4:06.09 Daiya Seto (JPN), 2020 Kosuke Kitajima Cup

After the race, Seto said he was surprised by the time with it being just January and says there are still ‘corrections’ to be made.

25-year-old Seto has been on-fire, most recently putting up 200m fly and 200m IM lifetime bests of 1:52.53 and 1:55.55, respectively, after taking the 200m IM/400m IM double in Gwangju, Korea at last year’s World Championships. He became his nation’s first man ever to sweep the IM events at a World Championships and automatically qualified for this year’s Olympic Games by doing so.

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7 months ago

Can’t say it was unexpected. Great swim nonetheless.

Reply to  Retta Race
7 months ago

I’m surprised he said that. The times he did in the 200 fly/IM in the Champions Series suggested he would do a big 400 IM

7 months ago

The man that keeps on giving. 4:03 might actually be in danger!

7 months ago

Welp, he’s going to be a problem in Tokyo…

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Dićo
7 months ago

I mean I know the answer, but…why is that a problem?

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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