Japan’s Slight 12-Person Roster For Doha Has Olympic Relay Qualification Implications

The Japanese Swimming Federation (JASF) has revealed its lineup for the 2024 World Championships in Doha, Qatar and it falls 28 athletes short of what the nation sent to Fukuoka this year.

Just 12 swimmers will represent Japan in February – 9 men and 3 women.

2020 Olympic silver medalist Tomoru Honda and fellow 2016 Olympic medalist Daiya Seto lead the way. They’ll be joined by sprinting mainstay Shinri Shioura and 2019 World Championships silver medalist Katsuhiro Matsumoto.

The former World Record holder Ippei Watanabe and his breaststroking partner-in-crime Shoma Sato are missing from the men’s side of the roster. Shinri’s domestic sprint freestyle rival Katsumi Nakamura is also absent, as is veteran backstroker Ryosuke Irie.

Irie’s absence is especially significant, considering the 33-year-old’s appearance in Fukuoka this year marked his 8th consecutive World Championships.

Only 3 swimmers have been nominated on the women’s side, including Nagisa Ikemoto, Ichika Kajimoto and Chihara ItsukaNot representing Japan is Rikako Ikee, Rio ShiraiAiri Mitsui, among several others.

We reported how the 2024 Japanese Olympic Trials have been moved to March from their usual timeframe of April. That means the World Championships roster will be racing in Doha just one month ahead of the biggest domestic meet of next year. That explains why several big guns are not heading to Worlds, following the trend of some other nations that have reduced lineups for Doha.

Relay Implications

With just a trio of women, Japan will not have any relays on that side of the roster in Doha. As for the men, it’s doubtful they’ll field any freestyle relays, although they could scrape together a medley and potentially a mixed medley.

Japan was medal-less when it came to relays at this year’s World Championships. The highest finish on the men’s side came in the medley where Japan placed 6th. The best result on the women’s side came in the medley where they also placed 6th.

Japan’s Relay Results at the 2023 World Championships

  • 6th – men’s medley
  • 9th – men’s 4x200m free
  • 13th – men’s 4x100m free
  • 6th – women’s medley
  • 8th – women’s 4x100m free
  • 9th – women’s 4x200m free
  • 7th – mixed medley

In terms of Olympic qualification for relays, World Aquatics’ initial criteria for relay qualification in Paris stated that the top three countries in each relay at the 2023 World Championship would qualify for the corresponding event at the Olympics. The remaining 13 spots in each event would then be decided at the 2024 World Championships.

However, World Aquatics’ December 2022 update said that the remaining 13 spots in each relay would qualify for Paris 2024 through both the 2023 Worlds in Fukuoka and the 2024 Worlds in Doha. The presumption is that the results from both meets will be combined, and the top 13 teams that hadn’t already booked their ticket in the event will qualify for Paris, with finals swims getting priority.

In Fukuoka, Japan placed just 17th in the swimming medal table. Its only medalists included Honda claiming 200m fly bronze and Seto collecting 400m IM bronze.

Japanese Roster for the 2024 World Championships


Shinri Shioura
Katsuhiro Matsumoto
Shogo Takeda
Osamu Kato
Tomoru Honda
Ikuru Hiroshima
Nao Horomura
Daiya Seto
Riki Abe


Nagisa Ikemoto
Ichika Kajimoto
Chiharu Itsuka

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Tea rex
2 months ago

Q: if Russia gets to compete in Paris, they would also need to compete in Doha to have any relays, right?

Reply to  Tea rex
2 months ago

Yes, that’s correct.

The unoriginal Tim
2 months ago

As things stand all 7 of Japan’s relays are qualified for the olympics.

The only ones at risk of being bumped are M4x100 and M4x200. I don’t see the relays being competitive in Doha. Only countries that DQd at last Worlds will have stong teams.

Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
2 months ago

Totally agree, but still would put qualified as ‘qualified’…..for accuracy.

Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
2 months ago

Those relays currently sitting in the Top 8 of each event should feel very comfortable they’ll qualify.

Great Britain’s Mens 4×100 free are the obvious standout team that have yet to put a qualifying time in the books having being DQd in Fukuoka.

Reply to  Boknows34
2 months ago

Agree. Top 8 should, in reality, be safe to “sit” on; quite probably top 10 current times may be enough.

GBR M4x100 don’t have a valid time so need to swim Doha. Their W4xMED missed Fukuoka final but their 9th (3.58) should be sufficient as I’m not realistically seeing 16 sub 4.00s.

2 months ago

Is about to be about 3 heats per event, especially on the women’s side.

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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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