2015 JAPANESE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Long Course Meters
- April 7-12th, 2015 (Tuesday-Sunday)
- Tatsumi International Pool, Tokyo
- Live results (in English)
- Full World Championships event list, including semi-finals for 100m and 200m races.
The Japanese men on Saturday at the 2015 National Championships in Tokyo showed that while they may have slipped ever-so-slightly over 100 meters, in the 200 meter breaststroke event, they are still the best country that the world has to offer.
Japan now owns the top four spots in the TYR World Rankings in 2015, and that’s despite none of those top four spots belonging to their 20-year old World Record holder in the event.
Yasuhiro Koseki led the way in 2:07.77, which included a front-half split of 1:00.86, which itself would’ve placed him 6th in that event.
With a nearly two-second lead earned on the front-half of this race, he didn’t have much left to do coming home as he won by roughly the same margin.
Ryo Tateishi took 2nd in 2:09.54, with newcomer Kazuki Kohinata placing 3rd in 2:09.77.
In this event in Tokyo, Japan had the first four swimmers in the world better than 2:10 this season, including Ippei Watanabe, who was 2:09.89 in the early rounds and then fell off the pace in finals to finish 5th behind the World Record holder: 20-year old Akihiro Yamaguchi, who hasn’t been able to recapture the magic from his World Record in 2012 that at the time was one of the most surprising and unexpected since the end of the 2009 super-suit era.
Besides just the top four swims, Japan has total 8 of the top 10 times in the world so far as a result of this meet. See below as they now fill up the top end of the rankings.
That event came at the end of the session, and was icing on the cake for what was a supremely impressive day for the Japanese. Backstroker Ryosuke Irie, after a modest 100 meters earlier in the meet, swam impressively to the top of the World Rankings in the 200 back on Saturday. His 1:54.62 is almost a full second faster than Mitch Larkin’s winning time from Australian Nationals to take over the world lead this year.
The runner-up was Masaki Kaneko in 1:56.70 (also moving into the world’s top 5). Irie was patient in building his lead in this race; he and Kaneko were about even after 50 meters, but by the next turn Irie had built a full second lead, which grew to 1.6 and eventually 1.8 seconds of margin by the race’s end.
In the women’s 200 fly, Natsumi Hoshi swam a 2:06.66 to dominate the race over Miyu Nakano (2:10.36). This swim marks Hoshi’s at least fourth-straight win in the event at this meet, though she’s gotten progressively slower in victory each year since setting the National Record in 2012. She earned bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games in the event, but failed to medal at Worlds in 2013.
Nakano is just 17-years old and has a bright hope of following in Hoshi’s footsteps.
The slowest final of the day was the women’s 800 free, where Chinatsu Satou won in just 8:33.71, beating out Asari Wada (8:34.71). The Japanese women struggle in the women’s distance freestyles, but while this wasn’t a very fast final, it wasn’t totally unimpressive either: Satou is only 15-years old.
- Miki Uchida qualified first in the women’s 100 free in 54.37, coming out ahead of Yayoi Matsumoto (54.67) and Rikako Ikee (55.07). That swim from the 14-year old Ikee broke Uchida’s Junior National Record in the event.
- Shinri Shioura led the way in the men’s 100 free semis with a 48.69, which is just two tenths shy of the Japanese Record in the event. The top three qualifiers all chased him out of the 2nd heat, including a 49.22 from Katsumi Nakamura.
- Yuka Kawayoke swam 2:10.39 to qualify 1st in the women’s 200 back; Natsumi Sakai is the 3rd qualifier in 2:11.84 at just 13-years old.
- The men’s 100 fly, a relatively-experienced field with no semi-finalists under the age of 18, saw Takeshi Kawamoto take the top qualifying spot in 52.04 out of semi-final 2. He’ll look to fight off the legendary Takuro Fujii (52.15), who is a decade his senior.
- The top qualifier in the women’s 200 breast semi-finals was Runa Imai, with the country’s two stars in the event Rie Kaneto and Kanako Watanabe sitting 2nd and 3rd, respectively. All three swam 2:24’s to qualify, led by the 14-year old Imai in 2:24.37. Watanabe has already been 2:23.0 this year and currently ranks 2nd in the world.