Rikako Ikee’s Post-Leukemia 50 Free PB: “I Surprised Myself”


We reported how 20-year-old leukemia survivor Rikako Ikee raced her way to a 4th place finish in the women’s 50m freestyle while competing on day 1 of the Japan Student Swimming Championshps.

After clocking a time of 25.87 in the prelims, Ikee dropped another .25 to narrowly miss out on a medal with a time of 25.62 at just her 2nd competition back. You can read more about Ikee’s swim here.

Speaking after her race today, Ikee told The Olympic Channel, “I was happy to be here competing and that I swam in under 26 seconds. I kept it to myself but my goal for this meet was a 25.8 – and I did it in the heats. I’m really glad I achieved my goal”.

The work Ikee has been grinding through both in and out of the pool are beginning to pay off as the sprint ace is remarkably coming back to form.

“Everyone was telling me I look different, that I put on muscle”, she said. “I was stronger than I realised. I was lifting two times a week and I think it’s paying off”.

Below is a social media post from Ikee from last month, showing her muscle increase from January to September of this year.

Specific to this race, where she dropped nearly a second from her time at the Tokyo Special Swimming Tournament last month, Ikee said, “I was confident I’d be faster – but not this fast.

“I surprised myself. I’m still more than a full second off my record but I’m happy I had my best time of the season today.

“Before the last competition, I was more worried than excited to be swimming again. I almost felt embarrassed because I was so skinny. But today I was itching to go. I felt confident and just positive all around”.

Ikee has not committed to any future competitions for now.

“Where do I go from here? Just enjoy swimming to the fullest and work hard every day. That’s what’s important for me at this point in time”.

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19 days ago

Unrelated but did UW Madison finish remodeling their natatorium?

Reply to  PFA
19 days ago

They’re about to open their new pool soon YEAAAAAAAAAAHHHH

19 days ago

Great comeback story! Glad to see her beat cancer and get back into the pool so well!

19 days ago

Pulling for her that’s awesome.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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