Ikee’s 55.48 Fly Leg Leads Japan To National Record In Medley Relay


Rikako Ikee finished off her superb performance at the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo with one of the fastest butterfly splits in history as the Japanese women broke their National Record in the 400 medley relay.

After solid opening legs from Natsumi Sakai (59.20) and Reona Aoki (1:06.84), Ikee moved Japan into 2nd-place with a massive 55.48 split on the butterfly, and Tomomi Aoki (53.52) closed things off on the anchor leg to hold off Canada for bronze in 3:55.03. That breaks their previous National Record of 3:55.73 from the 2012 Olympic Games.

Sakai’s lead-off leg of 59.20 broke her own Japanese Junior Record set earlier in the meet in the individual 100 back. She had gone 59.33 to lower the 2008 mark of Shiho Sakai (59.44).

Ikee’s split of 55.48 ties for the 5th-fastest of all-time, and also ties her for the 2nd-fastest performer ever with American Dana Vollmer, who split 55.48 at the 2012 Olympic Games. Individual world record holder Sarah Sjostrom has the four-fastest splits in history, led by her 55.03 from the 2017 World Championships.

Fastest Relay Splits, Women’s 100 Fly

  1. Sarah Sjostrom, 55.03 – 2017
  2. Sarah Sjostrom, 55.28 – 2015
  3. Sarah Sjostrom, 55.43 – 2016
  4. Sarah Sjostrom, 55.47 – 2014
  5. Dana Vollmer – 2012 / Rikako Ikee – 2018, 55.48

Below, check out a split comparison of the old and new Japanese Records in the event:

Japan, 2012 Olympic Games Japan, 2018 Pan Pacs
Aya Terakawa – 58.99 Natsumi Sakai – 59.20
Satomi Suzuki – 1:05.96 Reona Aoki – 1:06.84
Yuka Kato – 57.36 Rikako Ikee – 55.48
Haruka Ueda – 53.42 Tomomi Aoki – 53.51
3:55.73 3:55.03

The Australians won the gold in a new Championship Record of 3:52.74, edging out the United States (3:53.21). Japan barely held off Canada (3:55.14) for the bronze, as Taylor Ruck had a blazing fast 51.72 anchor for them. Cate Campbell anchored in 51.19 for the Aussies, which is the 3rd-fastest freestyle split of all-time (trailing her 50.93 and 51.00).

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Chasing Dahlia in the adjacent lane enabled that. Perfect set up for a fast split

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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