Ippei Watanabe Calls Out Pre-Olympic 200 Breast Goal of 2:05

With the 2020 Olympics now less than 200 days away, Japan’s swimmers are stepping up their game in terms of wanting to shine big for their home nation at this summer’s Games.

25-year-old Daiya Seto, the two-time gold medalist at the 2019 World Championships, was recently named as captain of the Japanese swimming Olympic team, having qualified for the event with his world titles.

Kosuke Hagino has also been grinding away, racing through the end of December, while upping his volume and intensity to target the 400m IM once again.

Now, breaststroking ace Ippei Watanabe is making his intentions known, setting a numerical target for his specialty event of the men’s 200m breaststroke.

“The aim is in the order of 2 minutes and 5 seconds,” is what Watanabe told the Asian press this week, as published by the Japanese Olympic Committee. (JOC)

Obtaining the mark at Japan’s Olympic Trials (Japan Swim) in April ‘will put pressure on my rivals’ says the 22-year-old.

Not only would it put pressure on his rivals, but a time in the sub-2:06 territory would establish a new World Record in the 200m breast event, a mark he himself once owned.

In 2017, Watanabe became the first-ever man under 2:07 by clocking a new World Record of 2:06.67. That was later eclipsed by Australia’s Matt Wilson before being lowered once again in the 2019 World Championships final to a new result of 2:06.12 by Russian Anton Chupkov.

Wilson finished with the silver in Gwangju in 2:06.68, while Watanabe touched .06 outside of that aforementioned former WR and previous lifetime best with a bronze medal-worthy time of 2:06.73. As such, Watanabe would need to drop at least .68 off of his best-ever effort to get under 2:06 and meet his goal.

Giving him extra motivation is perhaps the fact that Watanabe has been selected as a 2020 Olympic Games torchbearer. Representing his hometown of Oita, the swimmer says that he is happy when he thinks of his parents and everyone who has been supporting him throughout the career.

“I’ll keep in mind that I represent the swimming community and I hope to give a dream to teenagers who are devoting themselves to swimming.

“I will turn my gratitude into positive energy and train harder for the Japan Swim to be held in April.” (LDH News)

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Brian
1 year ago

.68 drop at a home olympics seems possible

SWMIN
1 year ago

Hope this guy does well.

Dbswims
1 year ago

Project 2:05? Or Project 125 (in seconds)? Regardless, Watanabe, Chupkov, and M. wilson are all contendors of dropping a 2:05, its just a matter of who does it first. Gool luck to all three if them!

Rafael
Reply to  Dbswims
1 year ago

It does not matter as when final comes chupkov will put a new gear to win on the last 50

Tyson
Reply to  Rafael
1 year ago

That’s if Chupkov can manage to compete after what’s happened to Russia

Dcswim
Reply to  Tyson
1 year ago

I’m pretty sure that athletes like Chupkov, Rylov, etc. can compete under the Olympic flag as “Athletes from Russia”

Lane 8
1 year ago

I’m almost 100% sure at least one swimmer will do a 2:05. Yeah, that’s what it’ll take to win next year.
Good thing he wants to go fast. He is definitely a contender.

M d e
Reply to  Lane 8
1 year ago

It’s very hard to d oo 3 great 200 Brst in a row, which is what is necessary in that field right now. I wouldn’t be surprised if the final ends up being slower than we think, given it might take a low 2.08 to make the semi and a low 2.07 to make the final.

IM FAN
Reply to  M d e
1 year ago

I don’t know about that….

In Gwangju Chupkov and Wilson were able to go 2:06 in both the semis and the final, and Wilson even went 2:07 low in the prelims.

Also, it won’t take a low 2:07 to make the finals lol. The event has definitely gotten faster in the last few but even in what was the fastest semis ever last year it “only” took a low 2:08 to make it…

Chupkov has gone 2:06 every year for the past 3 years, and I see no reason while he won’t be able to do it again, I honestly think he’s just mastered the 200 breast…

M d e
Reply to  IM FAN
1 year ago

It’s an Olympic year. Depth of fields is always better Olympic years.

Took a low 2:08 to make the final 4 years ago, and the field is way, way better now than it was then.

Only 3 swimmers in the semis at worlds last year went over 2:09.0

The slowest in the final was a low 2:08.

I’m looking at the following swimmers as all but certain to drop 2:07 lows or faster at the next Olympics: Chupkov, Wilson, Watanabe, Stubblety-cook, Koch.

Then we have the second Japanese swimmer (will 100% be fast), the 2 Americans (Prenot has been 2.07 low, Wilson has been 2.07 so it will take something in that range to make the team), Balandin (has been… Read more »

Lane 8
Reply to  M d e
1 year ago

I think Cody Miller started training for the 200, according to latest vlog. Don’t know if he is trying harder in it, but if he is going to focus more toward the 200 that isn’t a very good decision.

Rafael
Reply to  Lane 8
1 year ago

How mane dolphin kicks will he be able to do? 20? 30?

Dbswims
Reply to  Lane 8
1 year ago

In all honesty, i like Cody, but I doubt he’s going to get past OT. The 200 breast is going to be 2 of the 3: Licon, Wilson, or Fink. I could throw in Prenot but hes had a rough 2019 world championships and didnt even qualify in 2017. Kordes also fell off since 2017.

$1.8 Billion in Unmarked Bills on Pallets
1 year ago

I hope he gets it! Best wishes.

torchbearer
1 year ago

What do people think of telegraphing your personal goals to the whole world? I personally think it is a bit dumb- and prone to backfire!

The Ready Room
Reply to  torchbearer
1 year ago

Works for some, not for others. Peaty, for example, has had success with it.

Coach John
1 year ago

From Project 56 to project 126!!!!

DEAN IS GOD
1 year ago

Unreal that a 2:06.7 got bronze, at any meet, anywhere. 2:05 territory coming, monster trio of Wilson, Chupkov, Watanabe at home

M d e
Reply to  DEAN IS GOD
1 year ago

Don’t write off Stubblety-Cook.

BAG43
Reply to  M d e
1 year ago

Exactly! Stubblety-Cook did a low 2.07 in Dec at the Australian Queensland Champs – PB while not under pressure and winning by 5 secs!!! Look out..

DEAN IS GOD
Reply to  M d e
1 year ago

Zac is a monster

M d e
Reply to  DEAN IS GOD
1 year ago

If he could clean up his starts, turns and U/Ws he would be by far the best 200 breaststroker in the world right now.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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