Koga Rocks 50 Backstroke Win; Middle Schooler Makes Worlds at Japanese Nationals

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 first event of finals saw Junya Koga pop off a swift 24.75 to win the men’s 50m backstroke.  Koga, who trains with Club Wolverine Elite in Ann Arbor, now sits as the third-fastest swimmer in this event thus far in 2015.

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The next sprint event, the men’s 50m breaststroke, saw just a tenth separate the top three finishers.  Hiromasa Sakimoto claimed first prize with his speedy 27.68, immediately followed by Ryouta Nomura in 27.74, then Yasuhiro Koski in 27.78.  Sakimoto was just able to slide into the world’s top ten with his swim, now positioned as 9th with today’s performance.

A little history was made in the women’s 200 freestyle event, as third-place finisher, Rikako Ikee, became the first Japanese middle school student to qualify for the FINA World Championships since 2001.  Ikee managed to finish in position to be part of Japan’s 4 x 200 freestyle relay with her performance today. In the top spot, however, was Chihiro Igarashi, who touched the wall first in 1:58.12, followed by second place finisher Sachi Mochida with her time of 1:58.69.

In the men’s edition of the 200m freestyle event, first-place finisher Kosuke Hagino came dangerously close to cracking Japan’s national record in tonight’s finals.  Hagino’s winning time of 1:45.82 was just outside the current mark of 1:45.23, but earns him his second individual gold of the meet so far, having already won the men’s 400 freestyle event..  Daiya Seto improved upon his 2014 fourth-place finish by touching as tonight’s runner-up with his time of 1:47.71.  Yuuki Kobori claimed third place in the race in 1:47.73.

Last year’s runner-up in the women’s 100m backstroke race was able to take the top spot this year, as Sayaka Akase touched the wall first in 1:00.83.  And, in the women’s 100m breaststroke, Kanako Watanabe successfully defended her 2014 title, touching today in a time of 1:06.45, just 8/100 faster than last year.

SEMI-FINALS

  • Men’s 200 fly – Daiya Seto is the only swimmer out of the semis to clock a sub-1:56 200 fly time, as he fired off a 1:55.72 for the top seed.  Next up was Takeshi Matsuda with a time of 1:56.23, followed by Masato Sakai who added about 8/100 to his earlier time from heats to wind up as third seed in 1:56.31.  Seto is currently the world’s 2nd-fastest 200 butterfly from his 1:55.61 time in Perth’s Aquatic Super Series, so look for him to surge even further ahead of the field in the final race of this event.
  • Women’s 50 free – Miki Uchida downed the national record during the semis of this event, surpassing the old mark of 25.02 with her new time today of 24.97.  This marks the first time Uchida has dipped beneath the 25.0 threshold in the splash n’ dash.
  • Men’s 50 free – No swimmer dipped beneath the 22-threshold, as top seed out of seims, Shinri Shioura clocked the fastest time as 22.08.  Katsumi Nakamura claimed the second seed in 22.36, with Kenta Ito just about 2/10 behind in 22.36.  Shioura holds the national record of 21.88, which he set when winning this event at the 2014 edition of this meet, so certainly look for him to fire off some serious speed come finals.
  • Women’s 200 IM – A new world junior record was set during the semis of the event, as third seed Hiroko Makino cranked out a 2:12.29 to just dip beneath the previous mark of 2:12.32 set by Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte in 2013.  Sakiko Shimizu  and Miho Takahashi were the top two finishers out of semis today, with 2:11.91 and 2:12.28 finishes, respectively.
  • Men’s 200 IM – Two of Japan’s biggest overall weapons contested this event in semis today, with Kosuke Hagino coming out on top, at least for now, with the #1 time of 1:58.07.  Hiromasa Fujimori came in second in semis in 1:59.44, followed by Daiya Seto, who doubled up on his 200 fly to claim the third seed in this 200 IM with a time of 1:59.48.

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thomaslurzfan
5 years ago

I think its ikee rikako, born in 2000. Makino was born in 1999, so she has time until the end of 2016 to improve this record, which is in my opinion the “slowest” junior world record. On the mens side its probably the 200 free record by horton.

sven
5 years ago

Seto went 1:47.7 in the 200 free and 1:55.7 in the 200 fly in one day? Holy crap. I’m not sure about the order they went in due to the structure of the article, my guess is the fly was first, but either time after the other is impressive. And a sub-2:00 IM as well? That’s a tough triple. Hagino is a beast as always. Looks like the sprinting is improving a bit over in Japan. Shioura wasn’t too far off his PB in semis, and at least one other swimmer is getting closer to breaking 22. It’s hard to save up too much in the 50, though, so we’ll see if he actually goes faster in finals. On the… Read more »

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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