Ippei Watanabe Posts 2:09 200 Breast In First Race In Nearly 8 Months


Several of Japan’s top swimmers were in the pool today, contesting the 45th Saitama Swimming Club Outdoor Tournament. The meet concluded at the facility just 30 minutes outside Tokyo, with the likes of world champion and Olympic medalist Daiya Seto, Olympic medalist Masato Sakai and World Championships medalist Ippei Watanabe getting wet.

For Seto, the 26-year-old dad of two took it easy, contesting just the 200m free. Hitting the wall in a casual 1:49.43, Seto was second to open category winner Naito Ehara, who touched in 1:48.96.

After training in his backyard for weeks before gaining entrance back at his Tokyo training home, Seto has been putting up some impressive ad hoc SCM 100 IM swims post-coronavirus lockdown. He also recently logged an exhibition 200m IM (LCM) swim of 1:58.62.

As for Watanabe, the 23-year-old former world record holder undertook his first race in nearly 8 months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Splitting 1:02.98/1:05.91, Watanabe posted a respectable 200m breaststroke swim of 2:09.89 to take the open category with ease

Watanabe owns a lifetime best of 2:06.67, a mark that stood as the world record for just under 2 years since he hit it in 2017. That made Watanabe become the first man ever under 2:07, but it turned out he merely opened the floodgates with that monumental swim.

Since then, both Australian Matt Wilson and Russian Anton Chupkov bettered the mark, with the former producing a 2:06.67 before the latter dropped it down to 2:06.12, with both performances coming at last year’s FINA World Aquatic Championships.

There in Gwangju, Watanabe wound up snagging bronze behind Chupkov’s gold and Wilson’s silver, with the Japanese national record holder touching just .06 outside his PB in 2:06.73.

Also impressive here at Saitama was 200m fly specialist Nao Horomura. The 21-year-old Waseda swimmer knocked well over half a second off of the 2fly 1:57.72 he produced at last month’s Tokyo Tournament, instead hitting the wall tonight in 1:56.93.

Splitting 55.26/1:01.67, Horomura easily beat out the 2016 Olympic silver medalist in this event Sakai, with the latter logging just 2:01.18.

Horomura owns a lifetime best of 1:53.79 in this event, a time he registered at the 2018 Japan Swim to become his nation’s 4th fastest performer ever. That same year he took silver at the Asian Games in 1:55.58 behind winner Seto’s 1:54.53 to give Japan a 1-2 finish.

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About Retta Race

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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