Just weeks after her appearance at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, 16-year-old Japanese sprint superstar Rikako Ikee is back to her winning ways. While competing at the 2016 Japanese National Sports Festival at the Morioka Municipal Pool in Iwate prefecture, Ikee threw down a history-making 50m freestyle, taking the event in a time of 24.67.
Her time today lowers the teen’s own Japanese National Record, which previously stood at 24.74 from the Konami Open this past February. That mark also stood as the current World Junior Record in the women’s 50m freestyle event, therefore, her 24.67 lowers that record now as well.
Throughout the past year, Ikee has fully established herself as the Japanese sprint force, owning her nation’s domestic records also in the 100m freestyle (53.69), 50m butterfly (25.50) and 100m butterfly (56.86). Her 50m butterfly mark stands as the World Junior Record as well, putting her young sprinting feats into perspective internationally.
Although Ikee raced in 4 individual events in Rio, she fell short of standing atop the podium. She mustered just a 25.45 in the women’s 50m freestyle, a time which ranked 36th overall and also finished out of the semi-finals in the 200m freestyle where she ranked 21st in 1:58.49. Ikee fared much better in the 100m freestyle, where her outing of 54.31 notched her a 12th place, while her 56.86 new national record-setting butterfly performance earned her an impressive 6th place overall.
With her continued improvement across both the freestyle and butterfly events, Ikee is well on her way to making the 2020 Olympic Games, hosted by Tokyo, as one to remember in front of her home crowd.