Olympic champion Kosuke Hagino is coming off of a successful Summer Universiade, where the 23-year-old earned 5 medals on the meet. Individually, the Japanese swimmer took gold in the 200m IM, silver in the 400m IM and silver in the 100m backstroke, while also claiming a medley relay bronze and gold as a member of Japan’s winning 4x200m free relay.
What’s next for the dynamic weapon who topped the 400m IM podium in Rio last summer? According to The Japan Times, the newly-minted professional athlete will be based in the United States, taking up training in Arizona for the time being.
“It’s a waste to stay in Japan. I feel like there are new things out there,” Hagino stated upon returning to his home nation post-Taipei. “I want to soak up all kinds of experiences and be an aggressive challenger.”
Part of being an aggressive challenger is continuing to rehab his elbow since having surgery late last year. The original injury stemmed from a bike fall while at training camp in France right before the 2015 World Championships, an incident which forced him to withdraw from that competition.
Although no specific institution has been named as Hagino’s new base, in the past, Hagino has trained at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, a locale which attracts athletes from around the world due to its high altitude. Britain’s Siobhan-Marie O’Connor and Jazz Carlin, as well as Hagino’s countryman Daiya Seto have all trained at NAU at some point.