Rikako Ikee Makes 2020 Tokyo Olympic Debut in Women’s 4×100 Free Relay


Women’s 4×100 freestyle relay

  • World Record: Australia (Jack, Campbell, McKeon, Campbell) – 3:30.05 (2018)
  • Olympic Record: Australia (McKeon, Elmslie, Campbell, Campbell) – 3:30.65 (2016)
  • World Junior Record: Canada (Ruck, Oleksiak, Smith, Sanchez) – 3:36.19 (2017)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Australia (McKeon, Elmslie, Campbell, Campbell) – 3:30.65

SwimSwam Event PreviewWomen’s 4×100 freestyle relay

Japanese national record-holder Rikoka Ikee went a 53.63 swimming the second leg of Japan’s 4×100 free relay. This is her first international competition since she was forced to step away from swimming in 2019. At the age of 19, Ikee was diagnosed with leukemia. She spent almost the entirety of 2019 battling the cancer and ultimately made her return to competition in August of 2020.

Ikee was named the 2018 Asian Games MVP and was the first-ever female to earn the honor. She was diagnosed shortly after and had to take a break from swimming in order to effectively fight the leukemia.

She made an impressive return, qualifying for Tokyo 2020 only 7 months after getting back in the water.

She qualified for the 2020 Olympics at the Japanese Swimming Nationals in April. She picked up gold medals in the 50 and 100 fly and the 50 and 100 free. Although Ikee met the FINA A standard in the 100 fly (57.77) and 100 free (53.98), she did not meet the rigorous Japanese Federation standards and therefore did not qualify to swim them individually in Tokyo. Her times earned her a spot on the Japanese team as a member of the 4×100 medley and free relays.

The Japanese relay team finished 6th in heat 2 and did not advance in the top 8. Chihiro Igarashi led it off, followed by Ikee, Natsumi Sakai, and Rika Omoto. Ikee swam the fastest leg of her team’s relay and was the only one to go sub-54. Her split of 53.63 puts her less than a second off of her personal best time of 52.79 from 2018.

She will be swimming the butterfly leg of the women’s 4×100 medley relay on Friday, July 30.

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NOT the frontman of Metallica
1 year ago

May I just say it’s a shame she doesn’t swim individually due to Japanese qualifying standards. It’s their home games they should fill up every spot they possibly can to promote sports. Also such a great comeback story deserves more than just a prelims relay swim.

1 year ago

Ikee simply diving in is a win for all of us….

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Yup
1 year ago

So well said!

1 year ago

She’s incredible.

Coach Mike 1952
1 year ago

Wonderful to hear this – heart of a champion!