Japan Takes Charge, Ikee With Two Wins On Night 2 Of Asian C’ships


Event Highlights

Day 2’s action in Tokyo saw championship records fall in 9 out of the 10 finals during tonight’s session, with Japan earning 6 gold medals. 16-year-old Rikako Ikee was one of the stars of the show, following up her 100m freestyle Japanese national record from yesterday with back-to-back sprint wins today. Ikee first took the women’s 50m butterfly event in a time of 25.74, overtaking the old meet record of 26.09. She then crushed a 50m freestyle gold medal-winning time of 24.90 to surpass the old meet record of 24.94, which was registered just this morning by Chinese swimmer Zhu Menghui.

Ikee holds Japan’s national records across the 50m/100m freestyle and 50m/100m butterfly events, while also holding the 50m free and 50m fly World Junior Records. With the next Summer Olympic Games being hosted by her home nation of Japan, if Ikee should continue her rapidly rising trajectory, the teen could be one of her country’s mega stars of 2020.

Japan’s Ippei Watanabe, the breaststroker who scored an Olympic Record in the 200m event in Rio semi-finals before ultimately placing 6th in the final, took the 100m sprint race today. En route to the top of the podium in Tokyo tonight, Watanabe established a new championship record of 59.99, the only swimmer to submit a time under the minute mark. Watanabe crushed the old meet mark of 1:01.26. In fact, the top 4 swimmers of the competitive field all checked in with times under the previous record.

Whereas China took both of yesterday’s relays, Japan had the upper hand in the sole men’s 4x200m freestyle contest tonight. The combination of Katsuhiro Matsumoto (1:47.67), Tsubasa Amai (1:48.52), Daiya Seto (1:47.65) and Fuyu Yoshida (1:49.30) scored a time of 7:13.14 to absolutely lay waste to the old championship record of 7:21.32. For yesterday’s 400m IM winner Seto, his split of 1:47.65 is well ahead of his personal flat start best of 1:48.71, just as a point of reference.

The only race not yielding a championship record was the men’s 400m freestyle. Korean Park Tae Hwan took the win in 3:44.68 to signify the only swimmer to dip beneath the 3:50 threshold, most likely tempering his effort based on how he comfortably held at least a 4 second lead through most of the race. The time was enough to easily beat out the field tonight, but is off Park’s swift personal best of 3:42.53 set just last month at his nation’s Sports Festival.

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6 years ago

The 2020 Tokyo Games will be the Penny vs Rikako show.

bobo gigi
Reply to  aquajosh
6 years ago

100 fly and 100 free?
No more Sjöström on fly? No more Simone and an Aussie girl on free?
Sure Ikee seems programmed to peak at home in 2020, sure Oleksiak has her best years to come but the competition will be tough for both girls.

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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