Park Tae Hwan Earns 4th Win At 2016 Asian Swimming Championships


The 2016 Asian Swimming Championships entered its third day in Tokyo, with several more championship records being erased off the history books. First up was China’s Xu Jiayu, who took the men’s 50m backstroke in a swift 24.65. That surpassed the just-hours old record of 25.03 he set himself in the morning heats to take the top seed. Xu Jianyu was the only swimmer of the final field to delve into sub-25-second territory.

Korean Olympian Park Tae Hwan collected two additional wins on the day to go with his hardware from winning the 200m and 400m freestyle races earlier in the meet. The 27-year-old national record holder first crushed the 1500m freestyle field, taking the top prize in a mark of 15:07.86. He then came out on top of the men’s 100m freestyle sprint, winning over an impressive field with a time of 48.57. That time surpassed the previous meet record set at 49.27 and also comes within .15 of a second of Park’s personal best.

Groundbreaking Japanese athlete Katsumi Nakamura settled for silver behind Park in the 100m, clocking a speedy 48.77. While competing at the 2016 Olympic Games, Nakamura became the first Japanese man to ever dip beneath the 48-second threshold in the event. He touched in 47.99 as the lead-off of his nation’s 4x100m freestyle relay, although he would finish 17th and out of the individual event’s semi-finals.

Ippei WatanabeRikako Ikee and Masato Sakai each stood atop the podium for Japan before the night was through, with Watanabe and Ikee now having notched multiple wins on the meet. Watanabe already won the men’s 100m breaststroke on night 2 in a new championship record time (59.99) and doubled up with a 200m breaststroke victory this evening. Stopping the clock at 2:08.19, Watanabe smashed the previous meet record of 2:12.13 and represented the only swimmer to notch a sub-2:10 time. His time tonight was within a second of the 2:07.87 he earned in Rio for 6th place overall in the event.

For Ikee, the teen sprinting phenom scored gold in the women’s 100m butterfly, touching in a time of 57.46. Ikee has been as fast as 56.86, the current Japanese National Record she established while placing 5th overall in Rio. Tonight in Tokyo Ikee also turned heads with a super quick lead-off on her nation’s 4x100m freestyle relay. Japan would ultimately finish 2nd to China in the event, but Ikee fired off an opening 100m of 53.72, just .04 off of her own national record time of 53.68 cranked out on night one of this meet.

Finally, a dual between Japanese fly guys Daiya Seto and Masato Sakai came to a head tonight, with the latter ultimately taking the upper hand in the men’s 200m butterfly. Seto struck first this morning, taking the top seed in a mark of 1:57.03 to Sakai’s 1:57.29. But, 2016 Olympic silver medalist Sakai took control in the final, snagging a time of 1:54.53 to grab a new championship record. 1:53.40 was what it took Sakai to earn silver in Rio, but his 1:54.53 here in Tokyo was more than enough to overtake the old meet record of 1:55.53. Seto settled for silver in 1:55.45, a time which also fell under the previous record.

Tomorrow brings the final day of competition at the Tatsumi International Swimming Center.

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About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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