The 2015 Japan Open continued today with some significant shaking up of the world rankings. Two Japanese National Records also fell, as the men and women contested events ranging from the 400m IM to the 100m freestyle at the Tatsumi International Pool in Tokyo.
The women’s 400m IM saw Sakiko Shimizu surge to the top of the field to win the event by over a second, clocking the world’s 7th-fastest time of 4:36.63. Australian swimmer Keryn McMaster finished in second place with her effort of 4:38.38, followed by Japan’s Miho Takahashi with a third place time of 4:41.69. Takahashi actually owns the Japanese national record of 4:35.69 she set when winning this event at the 2014 edition of the meet, so she was a good six seconds off of last year’s performance.
A national record was surpassed, however, in the next event for which the women took to the blocks, the 50m breaststroke. Even with Great Britain’s Sarah Vasey taking the gold at this meet with her time of 30.83, it was Japan’s Satomi Suzuki who touched just behind in 30.97 to clear the old national record mark of 31.04. Vasey and Suzuki are now ranked as 9th and 10th in the world, respectively.
Emma McKeon made some waves in the women’s 100m freestyle event, clocking the 5th-fastest time in the world of 53.32 on her way to victory. This time represents a new personal best for the 21-year old who now shares the upper tier of the world rankings with some of the fiercest female sprinters in the world – Cate and Bronte Campbell, Femke Heemskerk and Sarah Sjostrom.
Other Women Event Winners:
- 50m butterfly – Rikako Ikee (Japan) in 26.35 to score a new junior national record. Ikee tied with Emma McKeon, who earned her third gold at the meet with this victory.
- 400m freestyle – Australia’s Jessica Ashwood doubled up on her 800m freestyle from day 1 by also touching first in the shorter 400m freestyle event. Ashwood clocked a time of 4:09.30 for the win, just 22/100 ahead of Japan’s Chihiro Igarashi who finished as runner-up.
- As a monster improvement from the 2014 Japan Open where she finished in 26th place out of prelims, Natsumi Sakai won the 200m backstroke event this year in a stellar time of 2:10.80. That time hacks almost five full seconds off of the 2:15.52 Sakai clocked in last year’s outing.
Studs Daiya Seto and Kosuke Hagino certainly battled it out during the men’s 400m IM event, but it was Seto
who came out on top by a sizable margin by the end of the race. Seto’s 4:10.04 now results in the 21-year-old owning two out of the top three times in the world in this event, having already clocked a 4:10.97 at Japanese Nationals. Hagino’s runner-up effort of 4:14.22 today falls out of the top ten, but he still is the king of the event, holding the top time globally with the only sub-4:10 thus far this year; 4:08.54 earned at April’s Japanese Nationals.
The second piece of the McKeon sibling puzzle, Australian David McKeon clocked the fastest time to win the 400m freestyle event in 3:48.51, although this effort is well off his 3:44.28 time from Australian Nationals, which ranks him 3rd in the world. Naito Ehara was the fastest Japanese swimmer in today’s 400m free, touching in 3:49.16, but teammate Hagino, who did not swim the event today, is the real 400m ace having already registered the 5th-fastest time in the world (3:45.19) at Japanese Nats.
Ryosuke Irie proved once again that he is one of the world’s most consistent swimmers. He successfully defended his Japan Open title, following up last year’s 1:54.63 effort with today’s 1:55.38 for the win. Irie now owns the top two times in the world in this event, having already blasted a 1:54.62 at the Aquatic Super Series in Perth back in January.
The men’s 100m free perhaps held the biggest surprise, with Katsumi Nakamura throwing down an unexpected 48.41 to clock a shiny new Japanese National Record by 8/100. This ties with Russia’s Danila Izotov for the world’s 8th-fastest time this year. Last year, Nakamura earned 3rd place in the event, registering a 49.79, which means the 21-year old knocked well over a second off of his effort in just a year’s time. Shinri Shioura finished in second place with another sub-49 time of 48.79, followed by Australia’s Regan Leong’s 49.25 for third place. USA’s Anthony Ervin saw a result of 50.29 for 9th out of prelims, but he scratched the B-Final.
Additional Men Event Winners:
- 50m butterfly – At 36 years old, Kouhei Kawamoto earned today’s gold medal in a time of 23.77.
- 50m breaststroke – Ryouta Nomura finished in the top spot, clocking a 27.90 to win the event.