The final day of the 2014 Japan Open was a little bit of a redemption day for at least one swimmer who missed the Pan Pacs roster, but would like a do-over. While the normal roster of swimmers performed very well, a new swimmer stepped up.
Sayaka Akase won the women’s 200 backstroke in 2:08.76, which is a second-and-a-half faster than she was at Japan’s Nationals in the spring, where she finished 2nd and she (along with everyone else) failed to qualify for the Pan Pacs Championships and the Asian Games. This time would have put her there if it were done two months ago, and it also moves her to 5th in the world this year.
In the women’s 100 fly, Natsumi Hoshi also went faster than she was at Nationals in April (though she’s safely on the summer’s rosters). Hoshi took the women’s 100 fly in 58.56, beating out South Korea’s Sehyeon An (58.851) and Japan’s Tomoyo Fukuda (59.45).
Ryosuke Irie won the men’s 200 backstroke, his best event, running away in 1:54.63. He didn’t get pushed by anybody in this race, as Kosuke Hagino sat out the event for the 100 fly final instead.
Hagino didn’t win that 100 fly, though, as Hirofumi Ikebata took the title there in 51.89, with Hagino placing 2nd in 52.11. Hagino’s event choices this week indicate that his focus, with all of his versatility and potential in different events, is shifting slightly toward the IM’s this summer instead of the backstrokes.
Other event winners on the final day of the meet:
- Rie Kaneto won the women’s 200 breaststroke in 2:22.73. Her next-closest competitor was Great Britain’s Molly Renshaw (2:24.46), but Kaneto stepped on the gas midway through to pull away. Mio Motegi placed 3rd in 2:25.37.
- Yasuhiro Koseki won the men’s 200 breaststroke in 2:08.34, with the World Record holder Akihiro Yamaguchi placing 2nd in 2:10.48. That swim for Koseki moves him to 2nd in the world so far this year.
- Kenta Ito won the men’s 50 free in a lackluster 22.36.
- Miki Uchida took the women’s 50 free in 25.23.