Rikako Ikee Wraps Up Remarkable 4th Gold At Trials Just 7 Months Post-Return


The marathon of a meet that was this week’s Japanese Olympic Trials concluded tonight from Tokyo, but not before 20-year-old leukemia survivor clinched her remarkable 4th gold medal.

After already qualifying for the Olympic Games as a member of the medley relay and free relay through wins the 100m fly and 100m free, respectively, Ikee made it happen tonight in the 50m sprints of each of these disciplines.

First, in the 50m fly, the Nihon University swimmer posted a winning mark of 25.56. That topped the podium here by nearly half a second, with Ikee representing the only swimmer to get under teh 26-second threshold. She nabbed a new National University Student Record in the process.

Next up in the Olympic event of the 50m free, Ikee punched a gold medal-worthy result of 24.84. That, too, established a new National University Student Record.

Although Ikee’s 50m free result was outside the Japanese Swimming Federation (JASF)-mandated Olympic standard of 24.46, her victory here is another symbol of how far this young woman has come in just a short amount of time after a year of being the hospital.

Katsumi Nakamura snagged the only sub-22-second time in the men’s 50m free, getting to the wall in 21.97. A quicker mark of 21.77 was needed to make the Tokyo squad in this event, although Nakamura has already qualified in the 100m free. Because of that, the JASF may allow him to swim this race, too, but it is at their discretion.

Olympian Shinri Shioura was shut out of the 50m free podium, placing 4th in 22.06. He missed the 100m free as well, meaning this World Championships finalist will not be representing his nation in Tokyo this summer.

Finally, a particularly tough blow was dealt to Shogo Takeda in the men’s 1500m freestyle. The distance swimmer fought his way to a massive time of 14:55.70, a result just over a second outside the longstanding national record. Takeda’s time also ranks as the man’s second-fastest ever sitting only behind his 14:55.42 from 2018.

However, after nearly 15 solid minutes of grueling competition in the event, Takeda’s final clocking fell just over half a second behind the JASF-mandated Olympic standard of 14:55.06. Takeda was clearly gutted after the race having to come to terms with this situation.

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1 year ago

Ironically the winning time at the TYR Pro series wouldn’t make the Japan qualifying time. Seems so unfair. Need a petition to get Rikako in!! Nevertheless she is absolutely inspirational and an incredible example of courage and determination.

1 year ago

In previous years, has JASF allowed swimmers close to qualifying to go or allowed swimmers qualified already to swim additional events that they nearly qualified?

Last edited 1 year ago by Spectatorn
Reply to  Retta Race
1 year ago

yeah that was a pretty dumb call

1 year ago

On top of those who met the time set by JSF, a number of others also met the OQT but not the JSF cuts, and they can be classified into 3 categories:
1) Swimmers who met only OQT in the event but JSF cuts in other event
50m free: Katsumi Nakamura (21.97; JSF cut 21.77; OQT 22.01)-met JSF cut in 100m free
100m free: Katsuhiro Matsumoto (48.37; JSF cut 48.33; OQT 48.57)-met JSF cut in 200m free
100m breast: Shoma Sato (59.30; JSF cut 59.21; OQT 59.93) & Ryuya Mura (59.55)-both met JSF cut in 200m breast. Sato’s case is even more unique as he swam 59.18 in the semis.
200m… Read more »

1 year ago

The JASF is stupid. Their swimmers can drop time after more training until the actual events at the Olympics. Why would they deprive their swimmers such opportunities to swim on their own soils?

Honest Observer
1 year ago

Hope the JASF shows a little flexibility here…

Reply to  Honest Observer
1 year ago

Fr are they not trying to place top 3?

Reply to  Honest Observer
1 year ago

as usual , they are being too hard on their swimmers .

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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