Japan’s Rika Omoto Takes Over Top 200 IM Time In The World


After a furious day of strictly relay racing at the SA Aquatic & Leisure Center yesterday, the individual events started unfolding at this year’s South Australian State Long Course Championships.

With a strong visiting Japanese contingency, 26-year-old Masaki Kaneko took the first open gold for the men, clinching the 100m back victory in 54.75. Splitting 26.78/27.97, Kaneko beat the field by over a second, which left Marion’s Xavier Castelli, who represents Wales internationally to touch in 55.78.

Kaneko’s effort situates him just outside the world’s top 10 performers in the 100m back so far this season.

Kaneko’s teammate, Naito Ehara, shook things up a tad in the men’s 200m fly, registering the only sub-2:00 time of the field. The 25-year-old hit the wall first in 1:59.18, but sprinter Kyle Chalmers took the SA title with his mark of 2:02.02.

Although rare, Chalmers has swum this grueling event before, having notched a similar time of 2:02.99 at this same meet last year. With tonight’s time sliding almost a second under that mark, his 2:02.02 now checks-in as a personal best for the 20-year-old freestyle ace. Splits for Chalmers tonight included 57.94/1:04.08.

The women’s 200m IM saw Japan’s Rika Omoto charge the wall first, registering a winning effort of 2:09.93.  Splitting 27.80/33.52/37.78/30.83, the 21-year-old threw down one of the fastest times of her career. She holds a personal best mark of 2:08.21 in this event, a performance that renders her the 3rd fastest Japanese performer ever.

At last year’s Japans Championships, Omoto finished in 2:10.98, while at the Japan Open the following month she collected a slower effort of 2:10.98. Although Japan nor FINA recognizes this meet as a qualifying competition for this year’s World Championships, Omoto’s effort does clear the 2:13.03 FINA ‘A’ cut by a mile, for perspective.

The other remarkable fact of this swim for Omoto is that she swam essentially uncontested. The next fastest competitor, who wound up winning the South Australian state title, was NWD’s Abby Duncan, who finished over 12 seconds later in 2:23.41. Yes, that gave her clean water, but it also impacted her gauge on speed without having a rabbit to chase.

Omoto’s effort now checks-in as the 20th fastest women’s LCM 200 IM performance of all-time. It would have placed 5th at the 2017 FINA World Championships and garnered the bronze at last year’s Asian GAmes.

The fact that Omoto nailed a sub-2:10 time at this point, the top swim in the world right now, bodes well for the upcoming championship season in her bid to make her nation’s squad for Gwangju.

2018-2019 LCM WOMEN 200 IM

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Additional Highlights:

  • 2016 Olympic finalist Madi Wilson took the women’s open 100m back in a time of 1:01.50, winning by over 2 seconds.

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Caeleb Dressel’s Bandana

“At last year’s Japans Championships, Omoto finished in 2:10.98, while at the Japan Open the following month she collected a slower effort of 2:10.98.” 🤨🧐🤔



About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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