Olympic Silver Medalist Masato Sakai Undergoes Shoulder Surgery

Japan’s Masato Sakai, silver medalist in the men’s 200m fly at the 2016 Olympic Games, has undergone surgery this week to address an ongoing Ganglion cyst affecting one of his shoulders.

Per the 23-year-old’s Instagram account dated Thursday, August 30th, the surgery on his right shoulder is aimed at relieving Sakai of shoulder pain, something he says he as suffered from ‘for a long time.’ He has already started back up in practice, but will be opting out of competing at least through the month of September. “I will do my best to rehabilitate it so everyone can see me stronger!,” says Sakai.

Japan’s Short Course World Championships Trials are set for mid-October, so we’ll have to wait and see if Sakai is ready to contend for a spot on the roster for Hangzhou.

‪[ご報告]‬ ‪肩の痛みがずっと続いていて、先日右肩ガングリオンの摘出手術を行いました。その為、9月の社会人選手権は棄権することになりました。ですが、現在経過は良好で水中練習も開始しています。さらに強くなった姿を皆さまに見せられるようにリハビリ頑張ります。今後も応援宜しくお願いします!‬ #seiko

A post shared by masato sakai (@masato_sakai) on

Sakai was surprisingly absent from this year’s Pan Pacific Championships and Asian Games, having missed qualification at the 2 qualifying meets this Spring. Sakai wasn’t able to drive his times into the sub-1:55 range, settling for 1:56.81 in Japan Swim in April and 1:55.06 at the Japan Open.

Prior to 2018, Sakai has been a mainstay on the 200m fly scene for several years. Sakai established himself as a major player, finishing a respectable 4th at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships in Australia. Then, at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Sakai produced a solid time of 1:54.24 to place 4th, a statement swim leaving him just .14 outside of the medals.

In Rio’s 200m fly final, Sakai stormed from 6th place at the 150m mark to come within striking distance of American icon Michael Phelps. Sakai wound up with a painstakingly close silver in a new personal best effort of 1:53.40 to Phelps’ gold medal-winning 1:53.36.

The Waseda University club swimmer did claim gold at the Asian Swimming Championships that same year, beating domestic rival Seto by almost a full second to clock 1:54.53 for a new championship record. He inflicted additional damage at the 2017 Japan Swim, clocking 1:53.71, the 2nd best time of his career, to win the gold at that meet and finish the year ranked as the #2 swimmer in the world in the event. Only South Africa’s Chad Le Clos proved faster in 2017 (1:53.33).

Since that streak, however, Sakai has been swimming quietly under the radar, only making an appearance at the Tokyo short course meters stop of the FINA World Cup last November and the Japan Student Championships.

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25 free champ

Something many people fail to understand about this sport is that it can be hard on your shoulders. Especially the butterfly stroke (which was invented as a way to swim breaststroke because the rules allowed it but then it was later made its own stroke which we now know as the butterfly stroke). Also while I’m talking swimming history, did you all know that Native Americans (my people) were the ones who invented front crawl? The Brits (not my people) thought breaststroke was the best and most proper way to swim. #themoreyouknow


What tribe are you from that invented front crawl? Have all native people from the mountains to the prairies to the oceans, white with foam swum same stroke?

25 free champ

I’m not going to dignify your question with a response. YOZHIK, aka the most well-known troll on swimswam.


If the only thing that you know for sure is that Brits are not your people then how can I believe in all your gibberish. If you don’t even know the name of your people, their language then where does this knowledge about their history come from? Oh, let me guess, from Brits?


A quick look down our international medalists shows we still think the same.

The other strokes are horribly splashy and uncouth.

25 free champ

LOL, so true. Funny how that works.

Caeleb Dressel Will Win 9 Gold Medals in Tokyo

0.04 away from Phelps in the 200 fly in Rio. I thought he beat Phelps to the touch till the placements came in.

Bear drinks beer

Not everyone has the magic of Chad.😉

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