Olympic Silver Medalist Masato Sakai Misses 200 Fly Semi At Trials


Another Olympic medalist from the 2016 Olympic Games will not be back to defend his podium position as Japan’s Masato Sakai missed advancing to the men’s 200m fly semifinal here at the Japan Swim.

While competing in this morning’s prelims of the nation’s sole Olympic-qualifying meet, 25-year-old Sakai placed just 19th in a time of 1:59.51, well off his 1:53.40 silver medal-winning effort from Rio. There at the 2016 Games, Sakai finished just .04 behind winner Michael Phelps of the United States.

Since that magical swim, however, Sakai has been training and competing somewhat under the radar. He underwent surgery to address a Ganglion cyst affecting one of his shoulders in August 2018, with his rehabilitation rendering the man off of that year’s Pan Pacific Championships and Asian Games rosters. He also missed the 2019 World Championships roster, finishing 4th in the 200m fly in Japan’s Trials.

But there was a spark of a return to form for Sakai at the FINA Champions Series meet in Budapest in May of 2019. The man punched a 2fly time of 1:55.40 to capture silver behind Kristof Milak of Hungary, the swimmer who eventually set a new world record later that summer. Sakai’s time there in Budapest marked his fastest since the 2017 World Championships where the man threw down a time of 1:55.04 for 6th place in the final.

Results from this morning in Tokyo:


Top 3 Qualifiers:

  1. Tomoru Honda – 1:56.20
  2. Daiya Seto – 1:56.21
  3. Teppei Morimoto – 1:57.19

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About Retta Race

Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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