After 3 National Records were broken on day 1, competitors at the Japanese World Championship Trials in Hamamatsu broke two more on the 2nd day to continue to thrill the patrons at the Hironoshin Furuhashi Memorial Swimming Center, all of whom were in attendance to raise money for the charitable efforts of earthquake and tsunami relief.
Japan has never been a nation known for its sprinters, but they are really coming around. This was emphasized by the fact that both of the aforementioned National Records were in 50m sprint events. The first was Yuka Kato in the women’s 50 fly. She previously held the mark from 2010 in 26.27, which stood through prelims yesterday where she marked a 26.25. Not satisfied that this was a fast enough time, she put up a 26.07 in finals to take a dominating win and rank herself 6th in the world.
The second National mark went to Satomi Suzuki in the women’s 50 breaststroke in a time of 31.40. This time, the record was cleared by only .01 seconds, with the old mark having been set in this very same pool at the 2009 Japan Open by way of a tie between Nanaka Tamura and Hitomi Hose. The time leaves her sitting just outside of the world’s top 10 times in 2011. This was Suzuki’s second event win of the meet, to go along with her win in the 100 breaststroke from the day before.
But not all of the great swims of the day were done in record fashion. Ryosuke Irie, who’s rising to a level to match the starpower of the great Kitajima, posted the world’s best 200 backstroke time in 1:54.08. This is the best swim in the world this year, the 10th fastest swim in history, and clears Ryan Lochte’s Pan Pacs mark as the best ever mark outside of the tech-suit era.
In the women’s 200 backstroke, Shiho Sakai took the win over her sprint-prone teammate Aya Terakawa by a time of 2:07.98 to Terakawa’s 2:09.37. For the young Sakai, this ranks her 3rd in the world, just a touch behind the even younger Missy Franklin.
Among other top-10 world-ranked times were Takeshi Matsuda’s 3:46.9 in the men’s 400 free (6th), Masayuka Kishida’s 23.82 in the men’s 50 fly (8th), Hiromasa Sakimoto’s 27.86 in the men’s 50 breaststroke. On the men’s side, 20-year old Yuya Horihata just missed his National Record in the 400 IM, but posted the second-best time in the world with a 4:12.28. that’s a time that puts him in great position to contend for a medal both in Shanghai this summer and London the next.