Ippei Watanabe To Make First Major Race Appearance This Weekend


  • Saturday, October 16th & Sunday, October 17th
  • Tatsumi International Swimming Center, Tokyo, Japan
  • SCM (25m)
  • Qualifier for 2021 FINA Short Course World Championships
  • Entries (in Japanese)
  • Livestream

This weekend brings us the 63rd Japanese Short Course Swimming Championships, with the two-day meet representing the nation’s sole qualifying opportunity for December’s FINA Short Course World Championships.

The competition carries a few items of significance along with it, as we’ll see the first elite domestic qualifier without racing mainstay Kosuke Hagino. A 2016 Olympic champion, Hagino made the 2020 Olympic team and finaled in the men’s 200m IM before retiring later this summer.

Domestic rival and also a 2016 Olympic medalist in Daiya Seto will continue on, set to race a robust schedule including the 200m breast, 200m fly, 100m IM, 200m IM and 400m IM events.

Joining him in the 200m breast will be Ippei Watanabe in his first major competition since missing out on the Olympic team at the Japanese Trials this past April. A former world record holder in the long course edition of this 2breast, Watanabe placed 3rd and found himself as the odd man out of his pet event.

Additional men in the field for this weekend include Junya Koga, Shinri Shioura, Katsumi Nakamura, Katsuo Matsumoto, Naito Ehara, Naoki Mizunuma, Yuya Yajima, Hiromasa Fujimori, Tomoru Honda, Keisuke Yoshida, Ryosuke Irie, Takeshi Kawamoto and Shoma Sato.

On the women’s side, leukemia survivor Rikako Ikee is entered in her biggest event program since returning to competition in August of 2020. The two-time Olympian, now 21 years of age, is expected to swim the 50m free, 100m free, 50m fly, 100m fly and 100m IM.

We’ll also see her teammates Chihiro Igarashi, Tomomi Aoki, Rika Omoto, Aya Sato, Sochi Mochida, Rio Shirai, Nigasa Ikemoto, Miyu Namba, Waka Kobori, Natsumi Sakai, Reona Aoki and Runa Imai.

The nation of Japan placed 8th in the overall medal table 3 years ago at the 2018 edition fo the FINA Short Course World Championships in Hangzhou, China. A total of 7 medals were brought home, including 2 golds in the form of Seto’s 200m butterfly victory in a world-record-setting mark of 1:48.24, as well as his 400m IM first place.

The highest placed women’s finisher there in China was represented by Imai who snagged silver in the 100m IM behind winner Katinka Hosszu of Hungary.

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8 months ago

Really rooting for Watanabe. No excuses for why he didn’t make the team–just super candid about the reality of the sport.

I’ll probably get pushback for this, but if Shoma Sato was being truthful about a hernia being the reason why he was nearly 3 seconds off his PB at the OG’s, they should’ve dropped him and given Watanabe one of the spots in the 200 BR (assuming they knew about the injury within the entry window). Dare I say it was a bit selfish to swim while knowing you are far from 100%.

Swim nerd
Reply to  HJones
8 months ago

You’re not going to get pushback, because that is a perfectly valid point

Big mac #1
8 months ago

Nice field

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Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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