With Japan’s Kosuke Kitajima Cup kicking off in just 2 days, national record holder Kohei Kawamoto has announced his impending retirement from competitive swimming. At 39 years of age, Kawamoto has epitomized the longevity that’s possible within swimming, holding a combination of 14 Asian and Japanese records throughout his career.
Kawamoto’s nmost notable performance came in 2009 at the Japanese National Sports Festival where, at 30 years of age, the Nagaoka City Swimming Association athlete blasted a new personal best and JPN national record of 51.00 in the long course meters 100 butterfly. That mark still stands as the NR, as well as remains as the 17th fastest performance of all-time.
Although he landed off the podium at major competitions, Kawamoto did snag 2 medals at the 2001 World University Games. He tied Australian Burl Reid for the top prize in the 50m fly, while solely claiming gold in the 100m fly event as well.
The 39-year-old recently competed at the FINA World Cup in Tokyo, where he fell just one spot shy of the men’s 100m fly final, taking 9th overall in a SCM time of 51.60. He finished 13th in the 50m fly, clocking a mark of 23.20 at that same meet.
Kawamoto will compete later this month at a domestic competition where he anticipates swimming his last race.