With the new year comes potentially even more dangerous multi-event performances by Japanese swimming superstar, Kosuke Hagino, the IM and mid-distance freestyle specialist who suffered a mishap just before the start of the 2015 FINA World Championships.
Hagino had a monster 2015, where he declared war on the world rankings of several events over the course of spring and early summer, primarily at the Japan Swim (National Championships) in April. The 21-year-old put the world on notice scoring some eye-popping times across 4 events, including the 400 IM, 200 IM, 200 free, 400 free.
At those Championships, Hagino won the four events in times that still found themselves within the world’s top 10 even with Hagino having not swum at the World Championships. His 200m IM ended 2015 as the 3rd-fastest time, his 400m IM wound up as the 2nd-fastest of 2015, while his 200m free and 400m free ended the year positioned as the 5th and 7th-fastest in the world, respectively.
In fact, Hagino’s 200m IM and 400m IM clockings from April would have garnered the Japanese swimmer a silver in the finals of each of those events in Kazan.
Kosuke Hagino‘s Best Times of 2015
1:45.82 200 free
1:56.30 200 IM
4:08.54 400 IM
3:45.19 400 free
Regarding Kazan, Hagino was no doubt set to make some major waves against the world’s best; however, the mega-star suffered a mishap on July 2nd on the way to practice at his team’s training camp in Vichy France, which rendered Hagino with a broken elbow and out of the competition.
The Japanese National Record Holder has been extremely quiet since then, not having swum at any major domestic or international meet since suffering the injury. Asian news reported that Hagino’s first move back to competition was to be at the Japanese Intercollegiate Championships last September, where he was indeed initially listed in the 100m and 200m backstroke events, but he proved to be a no-show.
However, in an exclusive conversation with Hagino’s coach, Norimasa Hirai, SwimSwam can report that Hagino is scheduled to compete at this weekend’s Kosuke Kitajima Cup taking place in Tokyo. The Cup spans January 30th and 31st and Hirai says that Hagino is slated to swim the 200m and 400m IM events, as well as the 400m freestyle.
As for his health, Hirai indicated that Hagino’s “condition is getting better week-by-week.” Hagino himself communicated that “my elbow condition is good, that’s why I do hard training and participate in competition.” Keeping the end game in mind, Hagino further said, “I will do my best performance for trials and Olympics.”
The Kosuke Kitajima Cup’s prelims and finals take place at the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center on January 30th and 31st. Prelims begin at 9am local and finals begin at 6pm local each day.