Kitajima’s Possible 5th Olympic Games Qualification Now Questionable

In what most would argue is an unexpected turn of events for the Japanese roster for Rio, 33-year-old multiple Olympic gold medalist Kosuke Kitajima turned in the fastest time in the men’s 100m breaststroke at his nation’s trials.

While competing at the 2016 Japan Swim, which serves as the nation’s Olympic Trials, Kitajima first clocked a semi-final time of 59.62 to slide under the Japanese Olympic standard of 59.63 by just .01 of a second. Then, he followed that up with another solid sub-minute swim of 59.93 to ultimately take the silver medal in the event behind young gun Yasuhiro Koseki. However, Koseki failed to clock a time faster than the Japanese Olympic standard through any of his swims.

We originally reported that the fact that Kitajima was the only swimmer to have earned an Olympic-qualifying time, paired with the fact that he produced a top 2 finish, made it likely that he would be selected for his 5th Olympic Games.

However, NBC Olympics is reporting that the both the Kyodo News and Agence France-Presse have indicated that Kitajima’s swim was indeed not enough to secure a Rio spot.

“I’m speechless,” Kitajima said, according to Agence France-Presse. “It’s just so upsetting I couldn’t swim my usual race. I was thinking too much and swam a negative race. It’s my own problem, I’m gutted. I need to go and cool my head and come back ready for the 200 [breaststroke].”


Kitajima has already made history across the 2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games. Coming in 4th in the 100m breaststroke in Sydney, Kitajima struck back about 2 years later, when, in October of 2002, he set a new World Record in the 200m breaststroke event.

Kitajima went on to sweep the breaststroke events at the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona before heading into the 2004 Olympic Games as a favorite. At those Games, Kitajima struck gold and swept the breaststrokes and would do the same in 2008, making him only the swimmer to ever sweep the breaststroke events at 2 consecutive Olympics.

Having scored a relay-only spot on Japan’s World Championships team in 2015 paired with the fact that his previous season bests from 2014 and 2015 were 1:00.58 and 1:00.18, respectively, Kitajima essentially came out of the woodwork to throw down the much-needed speed when it counted.

Until the Japanese Swimming Federation announces differently, it the nation will have no 100m breaststrokers in Rio.

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Japanese Swimmer

Sorry to disappoint but he actually hasn’t
Both Koseki and Kitajima missed the Japanese Olympic Standard of 59.63 in the final, and selection criteria states that you have to make it in the final to make the team for Rio

Up to both of them and other Japanese breaststrokers to make the standard in the 200 now


Japan’s selection rule is that the one selected must 1) clock the time under the standard ‘in Final’ and 2) get 1st or 2nd ‘in Final’, so Kitajima isn’t selected for now.
He must fulfill the above criteria on 200 to go Oly again.


Did you read the article? He does not have to qualify in the 200 to be able to go to the Olympics in the 100. He is going to the olympics, plain and simple.


I mean, he is not qualified for 100, so he must qualified for 200 to be able to swim in Oly.
Although it may be the case that who swim individual 200Br is allowed to swim 100Br, but at this time he is not qualified for 100, as I wrote.


He has qualified for the 100 breastroke.


As I and ‘Japanese Swimmer’ wrote above.

By the way I am also Japanese.All the news in Japan says he is not qualified.
SwimSwam’s , as well as Swimming World’s news are wrong, unfortunately.


Did YOU?


He has qualified dummy.

Caitlin Garrison

If he has to qualify by meeting the qualifying time in the final AND place 1st or 2nd, how is he qualified for the 100b ? Are those not the rules?

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