Quotes from Tokyo World Cup: Larkin Acknowledges He Is “The Hunted”

The Tokyo stop of this year’s World Cup Series wrapped up yesterday, but not before some notable swims were performed by some of the world’s best athletes.  Below, some of those athletes reflect on the competition in Japan, as they look ahead to the short-term to the next meets in Doha and Dubai, as well as the long-term in Rio 2016.

Mitch Larkin, Australia

Larkin was most impressive in his signature events, the 100m and 200m backstrokes. Since winning both events at the 2015 FINA World Championships, Larkin says he sees himself as “the hunted”, but has proven he can handle that pressure in spades.  While competing in Tokyo, Larkin threw down the world’s fastest 200m backstroke of this year, a 1:53.34, a time which would have beaten his own incredible outing of 1:53.58 in Kazan.  Of his stunning race, Larkin commented, “I didn’t quite expect that time.  For me, today the question really was about endurance. I swam my way through the first 100 pretty comfortably and tried to keep my legs fresh.” Ever focused on the main event on the horizon, Larkin further said, “Coming off the worlds I’ve had people targeting me as a front-runner. I’ll make sure the boxes are ticked and keep doing what I’m doing, but it’s a different challenge at the Olympics.”

Emily Seebohm, Australia

Not to be overshadowed by her Dolphin counterpart, Australia’s female backstroking queen put on quite a performance herself.  Seebohm clocked yet another sub-59-minute 100m backstroke time, registering a 58.37 for her 2nd-fastest performance this year. Only her 58.26 was swifter from her World Championship-title-winning swim in Kazan.  On the 200 front, Seebohm beat the field in Tokyo by two full seconds, finishing 2:08.08, the 5th-fastest time in the world this year. Seebohm was very pleased with her performances and teased that  “I couldn’t let Mitch outdo me, I have a thing about beating boys!”.  Seebohm further described how she thinks her “100 and 200 are really strong, if I can keep doing that I’ll be really happy. Doing times like that really helps, there are not many chances in Australia where you can race against the best in the world, so it’s nice to be doing that so often out here.”

Katinka Hosszu, Hungary

Scaling back her day 2 schedule to just 4 events instead of 6 gave Hosszu some perspective on spacing out her races. Said the Hungarian, “Today was a bit of an easier schedule for me, better spaces between my events, and so it made it a bit easier, but I feel I got tougher these two days.” She also answered a question regarding whether Rio will be the final curtain call on her head-turning career, saying “I don’t feel like Rio will be the end of my career. Of course I want to win an Olympic medal, but since I’m not obsessed with winning medals, I’m able to push myself and enjoy myself a lot more than before,” she said. Looking even further down the road to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, a competition at which Hosszu would be 31 years of age, she said,  “I certainly feel like I can be there for maybe one or two races, like the 100 backstroke. We have to see how the younger generation comes along, but if I can still get on the national team, then I want to be there.”

Alia Atkinson, Jamaica

After becoming the first black woman to earn a World Championships title, the 26-year-old does perceive more pressure on her performances, as she is more in spotlight.  She says. “There are more people looking at me to see what I accomplish. I’ve never had that before, so it’s something that’s giving me more confidence and means my perseverance and dedication through the highs and lows is finally paying off.”

Cameron Van der Burgh, South Africa

Cameron Van der Burgh says his output on the World Cup Circuit gives him positivity heading into Rio, an Olympic Games which very well may be his last. “My times are very good, and it’s the best I’ve ever done in a season.  It’s potentially the last Olympics for me at which I’ll be fully competitive. Obviously I’m getting a little bit older now. so I’m going to put everything into this year.”

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Victor P

Katinka Hosszu: “…We have to see how the younger generation comes along, but if I can still get on the national team, then I want to be there.”


I mean it would be great if Hungary could produce 2 sub-59 second 100 backstrokers other than Hosszu, but really, they don’t even have anyone else who can swim sub 60. She’s a pretty safe bet to make the 2020 team if she wants it.

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