2021 JAPAN OPEN
- Thursday, February 4th – Sunday, February 7th
- Tokyo Aquatics Centre
- LCM (50m)
- Entry List (in Japanese)
- SwimSwam Preview
- Day 1 Finals/Day 2 Finals
Kicking off the penultimate night of action in Tokyo at this Japan Open was 20-year-old Waka Kobori. The freestyle ace took on the 800m free distance this evening, busting out the fastest swim of her life in 8:27.08.
Entering this meet, Kobori’s lifetime best rested at the 8:30.65 she produced for bronze at the 2018 Asian Games. Flash forward to tonight, however, and she got under the 8:30 threshold for the first time ever with this 8:27.08 outing. In doing so, Kobori becomes Japan’s 3rd fastest performer all-time.
Junya Koga, the World Championships medalist from 2017 who served a doping suspension in 2019, has been back to racing just over 6 months. Tonight the 33-year-old punched a winning effort of 24.95 in his bread-and-butter 50m back event, clocking the only sub-25 second time of the field.
His result here renders the former Club Wolverine Elite team member as the 6th fastest man in the world this season.
Two women got under the 55-second threshold in the 100m freestyle, as International Swimming League (ISL) Tokyo Frog Kings teammates Chihiro Igarashi and Rio Shirai finished 1-2. Igarashi stopped the clock in 54.63 while Shirai was just a hand behind in 54.79.
The story was the same in the 400m free, where two men got under the 3:50 barrier. Ikki Imoto earned the fastest result in 3:49.89 while Shui Kurokawa was a hair behind in 3:49.97. Of note, national record holder Katsuo Matsumoto, who already took the 200m free gold here, was not in the race.
Hiroko Makino got the leg up on Suzuka Hasegawa in the women’s 200m fly. The former wound up at the wall first in a time of 2:07.88 while the latter reaped silver in 2:08.80.
Olympian Hasegawa has already been as swift as 2:07.82 this season after ending the 2020 season ranked #1 in the world with a near-PB of 2:05.62. Hasegawa represents Japan’s 2nd fastest woman all-time with that performance.
As for Makino, a time of 2:06.92 is what she produced to become the national champion back in 2017.
- Natsumi Sakai collected another backstroke win, taking the 50m today to pair with her 100m from earlier in the meet. Tonight Sakai clocked 28.18 to beat runner-up Miki Takahashi by just .06 while Momo Iyoda rounded out the top 3 just .02 after that in 28.26.
- IM queen Yui Ohashi doubled up on her 400m IM victory by taking the short IM in 2:09.59 as the only sub-2:10 swimmer.
- You can read more about the men’s 200m butterfly and 200m IM events in our separate post here.