Natsumi Sakai Breaks Decade-Old Japan Junior Record in 100 Back


17-year old Japanese swimmer Natsumi Sakai has broken the Japan Junior Record in the girls’ 100 meter backstroke, swimming a 59.33 for 6th-place in prelims on Saturday. That took out a record that was almost a decade old, swum in August of 2008 by Shiho Sakai, shortly after the Beijing Olympics that she didn’t qualify for, but would have placed 6th at.

Comparative Splits:

Natsumi Sakai is part of a new wave of young Japanese women that is improving the country’s quality both at the top-end and in depth, with Rikako Ikee being the most oft-heard spearhead. In total, including relays, Japan’s women have broken 16 of the country’s 23 Junior Records in 2017 and 2018 alone.

There are a handful of areas where they haven’t been successful in dismantling the record books: the distance freestyles, and more significantly for relay purposes the breaststroke races The 800 and 1500 free records were set in 2006 and 2007, respectively, while the breaststroke records are the next-oldest on the books from 2014 and 2015.  Japan’s female breaststrokers didn’t perform well at Worlds last year, where neither Reona Aoki or Satomi Suzuki advanced to a final. That was enough to discourage Japan from even attempting the 400 medley relay.


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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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