2021 KOSUKE KITAJIMA CUP
- Friday, January 22nd – Sunday, January 24th
- Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Centre
- LCM (50m)
- SwimSwam Preview
- Initial Entries (in Japanese)
The 2021 Kosuke Kitajima Cup kicks off a packed season of domestic racing within Japan, as the top talent to the tune of Kosuke Hagino, Katsuhiro Matsumoto, Suzuka Hasegawa, Ryosuke Irie, Shoma Sato gear up for a home-based Olympic Games.
Rikako Ikee is also making her 2021 calendar year debut at this Kosuke Kitajima Cup in Tokyo after bypassing her originally-planned first competition of the New Year’s Meet due to coronavirus concerns. She’ll be in the water tomorrow.
On day 1 of this 3-day affair, we reported how Matsumoto wasted no time making his presence known in the men’s 200m freestyle. Winning the event in a big-time 1:45.13, the 21-year-old World Championships silver medalist knocked down his own national record en route to taking over the top ranking in the world this season. You can read more about Matsumoto’s impressive outing here.
Although Kobori fired off a spicy opening split of 54.85 to lead the pack, it was Honda who took it home for the win, touching in 1:55.80. Horomura settled for silver less than half a second later in 1:56.10 while Kobori rounded out the top 3 in 1:56.87.
As for 18-year-old Honda, his time tonight was just outside his lifetime best of 1:55.31, a time he produced at the 2019 World Junior Championships to take silver behind winner Luca Urlando of the United States. His result here also nearly matches the 1:55.76 he posted just last October at the Japan Student Championships, a mark which renders him as the 4th fastest performer in the world this season.
We also saw Reona Aoki get it done for gold in the women’s 100m breast, logging a time of 1:06.94 as the only sub-1:07 swimmer. Aoki’s season-best entering this meet was situated at the 1:06.95 she put up at the Japan Swim in December, so she sliced .01 off of that performance to remain within the top 10 performers worldwide this season.
In the men’s edition of the 100m breast, it was rising star Shoma Sato who stormed to the wall first, hitting the only sub-minute effort of the field. Sato snagged the top prize in 59.84, a mark less than half a second away from his season-best of 59.55 from last October.
Hasegawa ripped a first 100m split of 1:00.91 before backing down to settle for silver. Hasegawa has been as fast as 2:07.82 already this season.
Rio Shirai topped the women’s 100m back field by over 2 seconds with her gold medal-worthy time of 1:00.46, while mainstay Ryosuke Irie got it done for the men in 53.31.
Splitting 25.83/27.48, 30-year-old Irie was within striking distance of his season-best 53.04 from last month. That result renders the Olympic icon as the 4th fastest performer in the world so far this season.