Japanese teenager Rikako Ikee continues her journey on the train of speed, as she knocked off yet another long course national record while competing domestically this weekend. With the 2020 Olympic Games taking place in Tokyo, Ikee’s speedy performances at the Tatsumi International Swimming Center may prove to be foreshadowing of what’s to come less than 4 years from now.
While racing on the first day of the 2017 Kosuke Kitajima Cup in Tokyo, Ikee blasted a 200m freestyle mark of 1:56.33 to score a new Japanese record in the event. Prior to today, Ikee’s fastest time was the 1:58.49 she threw down in Rio in the individual event, but today she absolutely crushed that mark by almost 2 seconds.
Ikee’s outing today shaved .85 of a second off of Chihiro Igarashi’s old national record mark and renders Ikee a now 5-time national record holder at just the age of 16. She already owns her nation’s top marks ever in the women’s LCM 50m/100m freestyle, as well as the 50m/100m butterfly. She most recently lowered her own mark in the 100m freestyle last November while competing at the Asian Swimming Championships, taking it to a swift 53.68. At the 2016 Olympic Games, Ikee wound up in 6th in the women’s 100m butterfly, while becoming the first Japanese woman to ever claim a time under 57 seconds in that event.
The teen phenom will put her mid-distance skills to the test tomorrow in Tokyo, as she is slated to swim the 400m freestyle and 200m IM, both of which are not typically included in her sprint-focused racing repertoire.
A full meet recap will be produced tomorrow once the entire meet’s results are available.