Watch Rikako Ikee’s Olympic-Qualifying 100 Fly & Emotional Interview


As we reported early this morning, 20-year-old leukemia survivor Rikako Ikee has qualified for her 2nd Olympic Games by way of finishing first in the women’s 100m fly. Although her time did not meet the individual qualification standard set forth by the Japanese Swimming Federation (JASF), it did fall beneath the selection standard to represent the nation on the women’s medley relay.

Plus, Ikee still has more events to go here at the Japan Swim (Olympic Trials), set to race in the 100m free and 50m free.

You can read more about Ikee’s inspirational feat here.

Ikee’s remarkable 100m fly victory is seen below, with the 2018 Asian Games MVP clearly very emotional as soon as she touched the wall and then spoke with media immediately post-race.

“I’ve never thought I’d be able to win the 100. I was less confident compared to the qualifier five years ago and I thought I could win only in the distant future,” Ikee said.

“But I trained to win and I was saying to myself ‘I’m back’, as I entered this race.”

“I didn’t get the turns right in the semifinals and I thought there were areas to improve,” she said. “So I wasn’t expecting to get below 58 seconds or the time needed for the relay, so I’m really happy.”

“Even at really tough, hard times, I felt that effort would be rewarded,” said Ikee. “I was really happy when I saw the results. It was beyond words.”

“It gave me a huge boost in confidence. I still have the 100 and (50 and 100) freestyles, too, so I will keep giving my best.”

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1 year ago

WOW!!! Absolutely thrilled that she will be competing in Tokyo!!!
Omedetō gozaimasu!!!

Mr Piano
1 year ago

WOW. One of the greatest comeback that swimming has ever had.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mr Piano
1 year ago

I think her 50 will be awesome. And even if it’s not, this story is so inspiring…what an incredibly quick turnaround from diagnosis to MAKING THE OLYMPICS (in her home country, to boot)

1 year ago

😭😭😭 Cried from the minute she got out of the pool. What a great sports moment.

Last edited 1 year ago by Sportinindc
Bruno Fratus
1 year ago

Can’t understand a single word… Cried through the whole interview

1 year ago

This is absolutely incredible. Ikee is a real superwoman!

Just one question, although she did not make the individual qualification standard, is there still a possibility that Ikee could be allowed to swim the individual 100? I know that in the past the JASF would be willing to make discretionary selections to the team.

Reply to  HJones
1 year ago

If she didn’t make the Olympic time criteria, she can’t swim the event

Kick porpoises for fun
1 year ago

That’s amazing! But, why is she still doing only 5 dolphin kicks off the wall?!? At every championship meet she goes like 8 meters underwater. Girl, Natalie Coughlin did 11 kicks. We’re rooting for you!

Reply to  Kick porpoises for fun
1 year ago

Recovering from a deadly disease

Reply to  Kick porpoises for fun
1 year ago

Good grief. She was in the hospital for 10 months. She’s been out for 16 months.

Love to swim
1 year ago

So wonderful! Made my day too!

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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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