Kosuke Hagino Shows 200 IM Improvement At JPN SC C’ships


The second and final day of the 2020 Japan Short Course Championships concluded today in Tokyo, with many of the Tokyo Frog Kings International Swimming League (ISL) squad members in the water.

One of our races to watch, the men’s 200m breaststroke, contained several of them, including 19-year-old Shoma Sato. The man who has been making major strides in both the 100m and 200m of the discipline didn’t disappoint in this 2breast race, hitting a time of 2:03.40 to take runner-up behind winner Ippei Watanabe‘s 2:02.91.

Watanabe’s personal best entering this meet rested at the 2:03.23 he put up in 2016, so the former long course World Record holder has now dipped under the 2:03 mark for the first time in his career.

For Sato, his mark of 2:03.40 is a new lifetime best and good enough to rank the rising star and World Junior Championships silver medalist as Japan’s 7th fastest performer ever.

Surprisingly, Yasuhiro Koseki was a non-factor in the race, with the title winner from last year and Japan’s 2nd fastest man ever finishing way back in 12th out of the heats in a time of 2:08.54. Koseki took the 100m breast gold here yesterday in 57.40, making us think something was awry during this morning’s race. We are looking into this.

Rounding out the top 3 in the men’s breaststroke was Kazuki Kohinatawith the Central Sports athlete hitting 2:03.42.

Hitting the exact same time as she did to win the 2019 title here, Rio Shirai topped the women’s 100m free field in a mark of 52.87. As the only female under 53 seconds tonight, the 21-year-old is proving once again that she is a formidable force as she continues to hone her freestyle after beginning her career in the field of backstroke. Her career is running very similar to Australia’s Madi Wilson, who is a world-class backstroker now transitioned a critical component on her nation’s free relays.

Shirai did compete in the back tonight as well, hitting at solid 56.28 to top the 100m field by nearly a full second and a half. She owns a PB of 56.00 from this meet last year as Japan’s 3rd fastest performer all-time.

Following up on his 200m free national record from night 1, Katsuhiro Matsumoto dug deep to produce a stellar performance in the men’s 100m free this evening. Splitting 22.37/24.57, Matsumoto hit the wall in a big-time 46.94. His time represented the only sub-47 outing of the field, which saw the 50m free winner here, Kosuke Matsui, settle for silver in 47.19.

23-year-old Matsumoto now becomes just the 3rd Japanese man to join the 46-second club in this SCM 100 free, with his time tonight positioning him behind national record holder Katsumi Nakamura (46.22, 2018) and Shinri Shioura (46.59, 2016), neither of whom competed this weekend.

Whereas Junya Koga got the leg up on Ryosuke Irie in the men’s 50m back yesterday, Irie was king tonight in this fast and furious 1back event. Irie hit a time of 50.22 to take the title, while Koga touched the wall just over half a second later in 50.74.

Masaki Kaneko rounded out the top 3 in 50.95. The trio comprises the top 3 performers ever for the nation of Japan, with Kaneko owning the national record of 49.65, while Irie represents the only other man from the country having gotten under 50 seconds before with a PB of 49.88.

Koga’s lifetime best in this SCM 100 back rests at the 50.07 produced over a decade ago, which means the man coming back from his 2-year suspension is indeed transitioning back to form. You can read more about his comeback here.

After reaping gold yesterday in the men’s 400m IM (4:02.75), Olympian Kosuke Hagino doubled up with a victory in the 200m IM. Touching the wall in 1:52.73, Hagino displayed dominance, beating Juran Mizohata‘s effort of 1:53.89 tonight, which rendered him the silver medalist. The aforementioned Watanabe was also in the race, snagging bronze in 1:55.15.

For 26-year-old Hagino, his 1:52.73 time here represented the 6th fastest time of the man’s long career, one which contains a lifetime best and national record of 1:50.47 from 2014. Since then, Hagino has hit times in the range of 1:52.65 in 2017 and 1:52.50 in 2018, giving us an indication that the man who took 5 months off last year due to physical and mental health issues is re-focused and re-energized with a home Olympic Games on the horizon.

For perspective, Hagino’s 1:52.73 200m IM performance tonight would have rendered him the winner at the ISL match 1, giving Tokyo Frog Kings 10 points.

The women’s 400m free saw Miyu Namba soar to the wall easily in a time of 4:00.64. The 18-year-old has now become Japan’s 2nd fastest woman ever in this short course meters format of the event, sitting only behind NR holder Chihiro Igarashi and her standard of 3:59.41. Igarashi was indeed in tonight’s race, but settled for silver in 4:04.54.

Namba took silver in the 800m free at the 2019 World Junior Championships.

Additional Winners:

  • Reona Aoki nearly surpassed her own national record of 29.97 in the women’s 50m breast tonight, securing gold in a mark of 30.03.
  • Olympian Yui Ohashi nailed a new Japanese national record in the women’s 200m IM. You can read more about that impressive performance here.
  • The women’s 100m fly saw Nihon University swimmer Suzuka Hasegawa get it done for gold in 56.39, while Ai Soma was also under 57 in a time of 56.96 for silver.
  • Takeshi Kawamoto doubled upon his 50 fly national record for night 1 with another new Japanese standard of 49.54 in the 100m fly tonight. You can read more about his 100m fly record here.

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11 months ago

Nice to see his journey of getting back into his best shape! Hopefully he can be his best at Tokyo

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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