Ikee Fires Off 50 Free Record, With Junior Champion Kojima Also Strong


The 2nd and final day of swimming competition at the 72nd National Sports Festival of Japan concluded with multiple meet records biting the dust once all was said and done. Although yesterday’s 200 IM ace Daiya Seto was out of the pool this evening, several other Olympians stepped up and made the most of their appearances in the Matsuyama center.

One of those shining stars was 17-year-old Rikako Ikee, the Japanese sprinting sensation who already holds all of her nation’s long course sprint free and fly national records. Tonight she blasted a mark of 24.33 in the women’s 50m freestyle to not only claim the Festival title, but also score a new meet record, national record and World Junior Record. Her time hacked a solid .15 off of her own old national record mark of 24.48 set at the 2017 Konami Open in February of this year that put her on the books as the fastest junior swimmer ever in the event.

Ikee doubled up on her 100m freestyle win yesterday, where she clocked a speedy 54.10 to earn the fastest time of the field yesterday and win that event by over a second.

Reigning World Junior record holder in the women’s 200m butterfly, Suzuka Hasegawa was also at it today, cranking out a huge 2:07.79 to win her pet event tonight. Her WJR stands at the 2:06.29 she produced at the 2017 Japan Swim, but the 17-year-old has been consistent with her swims, most recently having earned a solid 2:07.43 to finish 6th at the World Championships in Budapest.

Another young athlete, Miku Kojima, established herself as a new meet record holder, firing off a fast 4:39.33 to take the women’s 400m IM event. Kojima’s time erased the old mark of 4:39.47 by just .14, but was enough to check-in with the field’s only sub-4:40 mark of the evening.

Kojima recently made a name for herself taking the 400m IM title at the 2017 World Junior Championships in Indianapolis. There, she clocked a time of 4:39.14 to take gold and come within .13 of the World Junior Record in the event.

Finally, on the men’s side, the big highlight came in the form of Shinri Shioura‘s speedy victory in the men’s splash n’ dash event. Stopping the clock at 22.09, Shioura overtook the previous meet mark of 22.13, while also being able to hold off domestic rival Katsumi Nakamura. Nakamura, yesterday’s 100m freestyle winner, touched in 22.16 for silver tonight.

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About Loretta Race

Loretta 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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