Japanese Olympic Medalist Kosuke Hagino Set To Retire From Swimming

The world of swimming has one less star among its midst as 27-year-old Japanese aquatic icon Kosuke Hagino is set to retire, according to Asian media.

A multi-World Championships medalist, national champion, Pan Pacific Championships medalist and Asian Games medalist, Hagino’s career highlight came when he took the men’s 400m IM Olympic gold medal in Rio 5 years ago while also claiming silver in the 200m IM event at those 2016 Games.

Hagino has been on the elite international swimming scene since 2011 when he wreaked havoc on the World Junior Championships, grabbing 5 medals in Lima, Peru, including 200m IM gold. He followed that up with 400m IM bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

In 2013, Hagino claimed 400m free and 200m IM silver at the 2013 World Championships before taking IM double gold at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships. The man captured World Championships silver in the 200m IM in 2017 before having a rocky 2018/2019 stretch.

Physical and mental burnout culminated with Hagino’s decision to forego the Japanese national team training camp in Spain in the spring of 2019, an important tollgate heading into that year’s Japan Swim and Japan Open. Hagino ultimately opted out of both those competitions, forfeiting any chance of qualifying for the 2019 FINA World Aquatic Championships.

On a personal level, Hagino got married and welcomed his first child into the world in late 2019, which contributed to his entering 2020 with renewed vigor.

Despite opting out of defending his 400m IM title and not medaling in the 200m IM in Tokyo at this year’s Olympic Games, Hagino cried happy tears that his career had been so successful and he again regained his love of swimming.

He and teammate Daiya Seto were the Japanese equivalent of Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte in terms of IM prowess, dominance and competitiveness domestically for a number of years.

“Chasing him all this time made me who I am today,” Hagino has said of Seto. “For me, he was a huge presence.”

“It’s sad, but I’ll keep trying as I still have a lot of challenges ahead of me and win a gold medal (at the Olympics) as he did. Thank you for the best memories.”

Hagino still owns the Japanese long course national records in the men’s 400m free (3:43.90 from 2014), as well as the 200mIM (1:55.07 from 2016) and 400m IM (4:06.05 from 20166).

According to Kyodo News, Hagino has informed his team of his decision and is considering attending graduate school.

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2 years ago

Why do Hagino and Seto never make the cut for American and European media in terms of interviews?

Eric the eel > Phelps
2 years ago

ooh what a great career, sad to see him go , his technique was amazing to watch! thanks Hagino

2 years ago

I want you to talk with Hagino at Phelps

Corn Pop
2 years ago

He never recovered momentum after his ( skateboarding? ) elbow break on the .Mare Nostrum 2015 circuit . I think that’s how & when . He got thru to Rio but his elbow was never the same & had to be intervened again . Fluidity was a big part of Hagino’s technique . As anyone who has done Makka Ho knows , Japanese have extreme flex in certain joints . Some can fold like human origami.. Hakino had it all, flex ,range , strength ,endurance & composure ( those little bows !)

A dream athlete.& tops on my Not a Boofhead list.

Casas 100 back gold in Fukuoka
2 years ago

He struggled too much mentally in the past few years, so maybe retiring is a better choice for him. But it’s still very sad he ended his career so early considering all the talents he has.

2 years ago

He had a great career, was one of the best swimmers in the world for the last decade. On the other hand, it definitely feels like he had the talent to win more than the 3 individual Olympic medals that he got.

2 years ago

I think the Lochte/Phelps and Seto/Hagino comparison was poor

Canadian Swammer
2 years ago

Legendary swimmer, I had the pleasure of swimming one recovery session with him and he was still cooking. A class act out of the pool as well!

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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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