Matsumoto Kicks Off New Year With 400 Free JPN Record, Hagino Takes 400 IM Gold

2020 TOKYO NEW YEAR’S MEET

  • Saturday, January 11th & Sunday, January 12th
  • Tatsumi International Swimming Centre
  • 25m (SCM)
  • Results will be posted once available

Several Japanese elite swimmers were in action today at Tatsumi International Swimming Centre, taking part in the 2020 Tokyo New Year’s Meet. For many, this competition sets the stage for the remaining months leading up to Japan’s Olympic Trials, which is represented by the Japan Swim, set for April 1st – 8th.

Right off the bat, 22-year-old Katsuhiro Matsumoto busted out the fastest short course 400 free swim of his life to top the podium.

Matsumoto fired off a time of 3:37.94, to not only snag gold but also establish a new Japanse national record in the process. The previous record stood at the 3:38.01 Naito Ehara notched in February of 2017.

Splits aren’t available at this time, but Matsumoto’s outing makes him the first Japanese man to dip under 3:38 in the short course version of the event. For perspective, Matusmoto’s effort tonight would have placed 5th at the 2018 Short Course World Championships.

Matsumoto, whose nickname is ‘Katsuo’, was a big-time performer for Japan at the 2019 World Championships, reaping silver in the 200m freestyle there in Gwangju, Korea. He represented Japan’s first-ever World Championships medalist in the 200m free event.

His 400m free record tonight now makes Matsumoto a 3-time Japanese national record holder. He owns the LCM 200 free mark in 1:45.22, tonight’s short course 400 effort, as well as the short course 200 free record of 1:42.41 he established just in October of last year.

As such, Matsumoto has produced 3rd national record in the past 7 months.

Additional performers tonight in Tokyo included Kosuke Hagino, the 400m IM Olympic champion who has recently added this event back into his training regimen.

The new husband and father put up a time of 4:06.13, modest by his standards, but a concrete step in the right direction after he hasn’t raced the event in well over 6 months.

Post-race, the 26-year-old stated, “I really enjoy winter practice and I’m confident with where I’m at.”

Of finally racing the 400m IM again, Hagino said he ‘was determined for the event’, and above all, ‘I wanted to swim purely.’

Hagino also said, “I’m not 100% good because I’m not fast enough, but it was a good spot to be able to look forward and start the year.”

On the women’s side, Japan’s IM queen Yui Ohashi posted 2 personal bests on this first day of the Tokyo New Year’s Meet. Ohashi logged a 200m fly effort of 2:05.54 and a 100m backstroke mark of 59.43.

In the former, she earned silver behind winner Hiroko Makina and her time of 2:04.64. In the latter, Ohashi finished behind Rio Shirai‘s gold medal-worthy outing of 57.92.

Reona Aoki got it done for gold in the 100m breast, beating the field in a quick 1:04.15, just .10 outside of Miho Teramura‘s national record.

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Troy

Surpriised they’re still swimming SCM.

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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