For the first time so far, three days deep into the 2014 Japan Open, there were no senior National Records broken at the Tatsumi International Swim Center in Tokyo.
There was, however, at least one Junior National Record broken, and some top-5-in-the-world quality times went on the board.
In the women’s 200 IM, with Kanako Watanabe absent from a primary event for the second-straight day after breaking a National Record on Thursday, Rika Ohmoto took the women’ 200 IM in 2:12.53. That wasn’t the most notable part of the race, though, as yet another young Japanese women surged. 14-year old Hiroko Makino took 2nd in 2:13.03, which is a new Japanese Junior National Record in the event. Makino swims a fairly balanced IM, and is a good finisher on the breaststroke and freestyle legs.
In the women’s 200 fly, Natsumi Hoshi won in a 2:06.34. Hoshi’s already the season-leader in that race, a second faster than this time, but only herself and Mireia Belmonte of Spain have been better this year. Hoshi’s only major international podium remains the 200 fly bronze she won in London in this event, but as she continues to look good in the 200 fly this year, at 24-years old she looks ready to turn a corner and be a consistent medalist.
Teenager Miyu Nakano took 2nd in 2:08.18.
A couple of swimmers coming back from successful Mare Nostrum tours performed well on Saturday. Daiya Seto swam a 1:54.75 in the men’s 200 fly, which is almost identical (.05 slower) to the time he went at the Monaco Mare Nostrum stop. That swim is ranked 2nd in the world. Masato Sakai took 2nd in 1:55.15, which now makes him ranked third in the world in 2014, and Kosuke Hagino continues to show off his versatility with a third-place 1:56.5 – even at a meet where he’s had good performances, but not great performances.
That swim wasn’t unexpected, but what happened in the 200 IM later was. Ryosuke Irie, whose been almost exclusively a backstroker to this point of his career, won in 1:59.81. Three of the world’s four fastest swimmers this year are Japanese, and though only one of them swam here (Hiromasa Fujimori, who was 2nd in 2:00.01), but Irie came away with the win.
He swam some IM’s at the Mare Nostrum as well; it’s hard to believe that this is really a long term plan for him with how thick this Japanese field is, but the times are still impressive.
Miki Uchida won the women’s 100 free in 54.28, which is a quarter-of-a-second. She was followed by Yayoi Matsumoto (55.08) and Kanako Watanabe (55.30), the latter of whom as we mentioned is trying some different events this week.
Other winners on Saturday:
- Junya Koga just missed a season-best in the 50 backstroke with a 24.69. Irie took 2nd in 25.17, which was a solid warmup for his IM later.
- Fumiya Hidaka won the men’s 400 free in 3:50.44. He battled back-and-forth with Naito Ehara (3:50.57), as the two were never separated by more than two-tenths of a second on the last 200 meters of this race.
- U.S.-based Noriko Inada won the women’s 50 backstroke in 28.56, beating out emi Moronuki (28.71) and Masumi Takaba (28.76).
- Asami Chida won the women’s 800 free in 8:35.92.