Matsumoto Carries Freestyle Momentum Into Final Day Of Kirara Cup

2020 KIRARA CUP

The 2020 Kirara Cup concluded today in Yamaguchi, but not before additional notable swims took place at this in-season competition.

Taking place after the Kosuke Kitajima Cup, but before next weekend’s Konami Open, this Kirara Cup is a stepping stone along the path of competition leading up to the all-important Japan Swim (Olympic Trials), which are slated for the first week of April.

After winning the 200m free yesterday, World Championships silver medalist Katsuhiro Matsumoto reaped another top prize, this time in the 100m free sprint.

The man logged the only sub-49 second time of the field in 48.79 to further add his name into the mix of possible men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team members for this summer’s Olympic Games. Matsumoto’s personal best in this 100m free event rests at the 48.52 notched at the 2019 Japan Open, which means his effort this evening was within just .27 of that outing.

Taking the men’s 100m fly tonight was 21-year-old Yuya Tanaka, as he upset heats leader Naoki Mizunuma in the closest of finals. 23-year-old Mizunuma clocked a heats swim of 52.52 to produce the only sub-53 second AM swim.

In tonight’s final, however, Tanaka got the upper hand by just .01, topping the podium in 52.55 to Mizunuma’s 52.56, while Sayaka Akabane rounded out the top 3 just .01 after that in 52.57.

Olympian and 2019 World Championships bronze medalist in the 200m breast, Ippei Watanabe, got his hands on the wall first in the men’s 200m IM. He earned a time of 2:00.03.

For the women, yesterday’s 200m free queen Nagisa Ikemoto powered her way to an additional two gold medals among the teen finals. The 17-year-old put up a solid 59.76 in the women’s 100m fly to beat the field, while she also nailing a winning effort of 55.71 in the 100m free.

Ikemoto owns a 1free personal best of 54.98 from the 2019 FINA Swimming World Cup stop in Tokyo, a time which represents the teen’s first and only venture under the 55-second barrier in the event.

Yui Yamane was the open women’s 100m fly victor, producing a time of 59.57 for gold, while Rika Omoto came out on top of the women’s open 100m free final in 55.25.

Omoto also went on to win the 200m IM by just .05 ahead of Sakiko Shimizu, finishing in 2:12.08 to the latter’s 2:12.13 to close out the competition.

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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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