Honda Hits 1:53.33 200 Fly On Day One Of 2024 Kosuke Kitajima Cup


The 2024 Kosuke Kitajima Cup kicked off today from the Tokyo Aquatic Center, the site of swimming action at the 2020 Olympic Games.

The 3-day competition represents one of three early 2024 meets, with both the annual Konami Open and Kirara Cup taking place next month. The trifecta of meets is just a warm-up for the all-important Japan Swim in March, the sole opportunity for Japanese swimmers to qualify for this year’s Olympics in Paris.

Leading the charge on day one was Olympic silver medalist Tomoru Honda.

Honda, who just turned 22 years of age on New Year’s Eve, punched a time of 1:53.33 to take the men’s 200m butterfly in a new meet record.

The ace opened in 53.48 and closed in 59.85 to capture his 4th consecutive Kosuke Kitajima Cup victory in the event. His 1:53.33 beat out the 1:53.63 he notched at this meet last year and also represents the 4th-fastest time of Honda’s career.

Tomoru Honda‘s Top 5 LCM 200 Fly Performances All-Time

  1. 1:52.70, 2022 Japan Open
  2. 1:53.15, 2023 Asian Games
  3. 1:53.30, 2023 Asian Games (heats)
  4. 1:53.33, 2024 Kosuke Kitajima Cup
  5. 1:53.34, 2023 Japan Open

Honda, who completed a training camp in Cairns, Australia last month, said post-race, “I don’t think my swimming is 100 percent perfect yet. I want to do my best.” (Nikkan Sports)

His 1:53.15 from last year’s Asian Games rendered him the #1 swimmer in the world this season.

2023-2024 LCM Men 200 Fly

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The next-closest swimmer in tonight’s men’s 200m fly was Genki Terakado who touched in 1:55.64 while Takumi Terada hit 1:55.83 as the bronze medalist.

The women’s 200m fly saw Hiroko Makino get the better of 2023 World Championships finalist Airi Mitsui.

Makino logged a winning result of 2:08.38 to just out-touch Mitsui who settled for silver in 2:08.44.  Karin Uchida rounded out the podium in 2:09.00.

Makino earned gold in this event at last year’s Cup, however, tonight’s performance easily beat out her 2:09.99 performance from 2023. It also overtook her previous season-best of 2:09.22 which gave her the bronze medal at the Asian Games.

Katsuhiro Matsumoto was also in the water, taking on his bread-and-butter 200m free event. The 26-year-old punched an effort of 1:46.60 (51.47/55.13) to produce the sole result of the field under the 1:47 barrier.

Konosuke Yanagimoto posted 1:47.25 as the runner-up while Hidenari Mano captured 3rd place in 1:47.98.

Although Matsumoto grabbed gold in the men’s 100m fly at last year’s Asian Games, his 200m free performance was far from the podium in Hangzhou. Despite owning a lifetime best and Japanese national record of 1:44.65 in the 2free, he mustered just 1:48.95 in the Asian Games final to place 6th overall.

Another meet record went down tonight at the hands of Reona Aoki.

Racing in the women’s 100m breast, Aoki turned in a time of 1:06.03, shaving .03 off of the meet mark she registered for gold last year.

Aoki beat tonight’s pack by over a second, with Satomi Suzuki clocking 1:07.07 for silver and Yukino Miyasaka earning bronze in 1:07.78.

Aoki topped the 1breast podium at last year’s Asian Games in a time of 1:06.81 so the 28-year-old managed to slice well over half a second off of that result. Her season-best, however, remains at the 1:05.98 she posted at November’s Tokyo Swimming Center Invitational to rank 3rd in the world.

2023-2024 LCM Women 100 Breast

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23-year-old Yu Hanaguruma notched a new personal best en route to collecting gold in the men’s 100m breaststroke.

Hanaguruma stopped the clock in a time of 59.68 to shave .08 off of his previous career-fastest performance. His time also checked in as a new meet record.

Hanaguruma represented one of three men to dip under the minute barrier in tonight’s final. Joining him was Yamato Fukasawa who touched in 59.69 for silver and Ippei Watanabe who nabbed bronze in 59.92.

On his performance, Hanaguruma stated, “I’m very happy that I was able to achieve my personal best for the first time in a while.” (Nikkan Sports)

For the first time in 11 years, Ryosuke Irie did not win domestic gold in the men’s 100m back.

33-year-old Irie earned a time of 54.25 but it was Riku Matsuyama who got to the wall ahead of him in a new personal best of 53.84. Takeshi Kawamoto earned 3rd place in 54.35.

As for Matsuyama, the Meiji University swimmer had never before been beneath the 54-second barrier. Entering this Kosuke Kitajima Cup, his career-quickest rested at the 54.06 produced at last month’s Japan Open.

With his result, Matsuyama now becomes the 13th Japanese man to break the 54-second barrier, becoming his nation’s 13th-best performer all-time in the process.

As for Irie, the racing mainstay was disappointed with his result, commenting, “I’m glad to see young athletes emerging, but it’s still frustrating to lose. I deserved to lose with my time.”

Additional Notes

  • Miyu Namba topped the women’s 800m free podium for the 2nd consecutive year.  She produced a new meet record of 8:32.65 to easily defeat the 8:35.78 which garnered her the gold in 2023.
  • Namba also raced in the 200m free where she settled for silver. Namba clocked 1:59.26 behind winner Nagisa Ikemoto who struck gold in 1:58.80.
  • Shogo Takeda took the men’s 1500m free by about 4 seconds. His final result of 15:08.73 was just off the 15:07.05 he hit last year for gold.
  • The women’s 100m back saw Miri Sasaki out-touch Rio Shirai 1:00.61 to 1:00.89.

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5 months ago

His consistency throughout the season is undoubtedly the highest in the history of the 200m butterfly.

5 months ago

Men’s 200 fly is gonna be one of the most competitive events at the Olympics. Last Olympics a 1:53 high got silver but there’s at least 6 guys who are prob capable of going 1:52: Milak, Marchand, Honda, Chmielewski, Kharun, and Heilman. And it’s only gonna be more competitive in the future since a lot of them are teenagers/college aged

5 months ago

Heilman is our only hope to run him down.

Reply to  Hank
5 months ago

Foster was half-second from that time last yr

Reply to  PhillyMark
5 months ago

Yes but Foster didn’t swim near his best time when it counted the most in finals.

Reply to  PhillyMark
5 months ago

I forgot about Foster. Foster and Heilman for sure.

Johnson Swim school
Reply to  Hank
5 months ago

Heliman is the next Phelps watch his back half.
Hes my gamble

Reply to  Johnson Swim school
5 months ago

I still think Honda may be too much for anyone this year. He will probably throw down a time at or under Phelps old WR.

Last edited 5 months ago by Hank
5 months ago


5 months ago

k den

5 months ago

Big Hon

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