Matsumoto Breaks Hagino’s Record & Earns JPN’s First 2Free Worlds Medal


The men’s 200m free wasn’t immune from the drama surrounding these World Championships, whether it was Lithuanian Danas Rapsys flinching at the start for the disqualification, or British Olympian Duncan Scott‘s exchange of words with Sun Yang at the podium.

Bottom line, the man who earned silver tonight did it in style, as Katsuhiro Matsumoto soared to a new lifetime best and Japanese National Record time of 1:45.22 to land 2nd place tonight in Gwangju.

One of SwimSwam’s quiet contenders heading into Gwangju, Matsumoto entered these Championships with a personal best of 1:45.63 from the Japan Swim in April. He set himself up well throughout the rounds of this 200m free, hitting 1:46.51 for the 7th seed after heats, then produced a 1:45.56 to sit 4th, along with Scott, headed into the final.

Tonight, the Japanese maestro split 50.91/54.31 to slice .01 off of Kosuke Hagino‘s National Record of 1:45.23 that’s been on the books since 2014. Additionally, Matsumoto becomes Japan’s first-ever World Championships medalist in the men’s 200m free event.

The silver medal result was of extra significance considering Matsumoto is carrying part of the heavy heart Japan is swimming with on behalf of teammate Rikako IkeeIkee, last yar’s Asian Games MVP and would-be multiple medal contender here, is battling leukemia. Last night’s women’s fly podium paid tribute to Ikee.

Additionally, Japan’s powerhouse Hagino, who has 3 World Championships and 4 Olympic medals under his belt, opte4d out of these World Championships, focusing on his mental and physical health in the final push toward Tokyo.


For the continent of Asia as a whole, China and Japan both appear within the top 10 nations on the medal table, with the former holding fast at #2. Xu Jiayu and Sun Yang both collected gold medals tonight, while Wang Jianjiah earned bronze in the women’s 1500m free.

World Championships Swimming Medal Table Through Day 3

1  United States 3 2 2 7
2  China 3 1 2 6
3  Australia 2 2 3 7
4  Canada 2 0 2 4
5  Great Britain 1 1 1 3
6  Italy 1 0 2 3
7  Hungary 1 0 0 1
8  Russia 0 4 1 5
9  Germany 0 1 0 1
 Japan 0 1 0 1
 Sweden 0 1 0 1
12  Brazil 0 0 1 1
Totals (12 nations) 13 13 14 40

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1 year ago

So if he gets awarded gold after Sun Yang’s September hearing, is he preselected to the Tokyo Olympics?

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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