Kanako Watanabe Barely Slower than Japanese Record on Day 1 of 2015 National Championships

2015 Japanese National Championships

  • Long Course Meters
  • April 7-12th, 2015 (Tuesday-Sunday)
  • Tatsumi International Pool, Tokyo
  • Live results (in English)
  • Full World Championships schedule, including semi-finals for 100m and 200m races.

The 2015 Japanese National Championships at the Tatsumi International Pool in Tokyo, Japan began on Tuesday began with a Junior National Record and a near National Record early in the finals portion of the session.

In the women’s 50 backstroke final, veteran Noriko Inada, who turns 37 this year, led the way with a 28.36, just able to sneak past Takemura Miyuki (28.40) for the victory. Since the somewhat abrupt retirement of Aya Terakawa in late 2013, the Japanese women have struggled to fill the hole in the backstroke races, despite improvements in almost every other discipline.

While Inada isn’t likely to be a long-term solution to that problem given her age, 13-year old Natsumi Sakai might be. She swam a 28.44 in this race to tie for 3rd-place and break the Japanese Junior National Record in the event. She’ll race prelims and semi-finals of the women’s 100 back on Wednesday, with the finals coming on Thursday.

In the next race, the women’s 50 breaststroke, the top four all put a big shock into the senior National Record, led by the country’s top breaststroker, teenager Kanako Watanabe. She swam 31.07 for victory, which just missed Satomi Suzuki’s National Record of 31.04. Suzuki was 2nd in this race in 31.15, with Mina Matsushima and 14-year old Yukino Miyasaka tying for 3rd in 31.21.

Whichever two swimmers wind up getting the spots in this race at Worlds (likely Watanabe and Suzuki), the Japanese Record should go down. That’s a record that’s due to be broken, given the success that Japan has had in the 100 and 200 meter distances, but relative lagging of their 50m breaststroke times.

The country’s biggest star, Kosuke Hagino, also began his meet on Tuesday with a victory in the men’s 400 free. He swam a 3:45.19 to run away with the title, though his post-race comments indicated that he was still not entirely happy with his swim despite the three-second margin of victory. “I swam a bad time in my first event and it was very frustrating,” Hagino said. “But, I’m not done racing yet…in tomorrow’s 200 free, I will do my best to improve.”

Hagino was out in the race in 1:50.71, which was ahead of National Record pace, but he came up much slower in the back-half of the race. His stated goal in the event for this season is 3:41, which would make him a contender (if not a favorite with Sun Yang’s struggles) for gold in Kazan.

The only other event final of the day came in the women’s 400 free, where Chihiro Igarashi swam a 4:10.10 for victory – marking her third-straight long course national title in the event. Asami Chida was able to hang with Igarashi for most of this race, and actually led at the 250 meter mark, but Chihiro’s second-to-last 50 was a full second better than Chida’s to put the race away.

15-year old Chinatsu Satou placed 3rd in 4:11.67.


  • Yasuhiro Koseki led the way in the men’s 100 breaststroke qualifying with a 1:00.03, winning the second heat. Legendary swimmer Kosuke Kitajima, a decade his senior, won the first heat in 1:00.31. Those two were the top seeds in prelims,a nd so they remained in the semi-finals.
  • Ryosuke Irie was the top qualifier in a Hagino-less men’s 100 back semi-final with a 53.48. He’ll expect to be faster in finals.
  • Natsumi Hoshi led the way in the women’s 100 fly semis with a 58.63. Rino Hosoda will chase her as the second qualifier in 59.42. That time for Hoshi is already faster than her winning mark from last year’s meet.

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9 years ago

Anyone know if Junya Koga is competing?

Reply to  YoungFish11
9 years ago

Yes he is…he swam 100 back, and finished third overall in semis…he did 53.96.

9 years ago

I think Hagino will qualify easily and put up good times in the 200IM and 400IM, but from what I’ve been reading he has been in very heavy training recently (even in SC worlds I think he wasn’t completely tapered) to the point where he mentioned aches and pains in his shoulder a month or two ago.

With rest, I think we will see something special coming out of Hagino this summer – definitely one or two titles i’d say. Him vs. Agnel in the 200fr will be one of the races to watch.

9 years ago

I’m very interested to see how fast Hagino and the other top Japanese swimmers can swim leading into Kazan! 🙂

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Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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