On the heels of teammate Ippei Watanabe‘s newly-minted World Record in the men’s 200m breaststroke, top Japanese swimmers Kosuke Hagino and Rie Kaneto were honored at the Japan Aquatic Awards last night. Hagino and Kaneto each scored an individual Olympic gold medal in the men’s 400m IM and women’s 200m breaststroke events, respectively, while the former also raced away with silver in the 200m IM and bronze as a member of his nation’s 4x200m freestyle relay in Rio.
Hagino, at just 22 years of age, is already citing Watanabe’s weekend performance as inspiration moving forward. “I want to have a world record, too,” Hagino said. “(Watanabe) made me think that you have to work hard to break it. I don’t think I have that mindset. You’ve got to think, ‘I’ll definitely do it,’ not ‘it comes when it comes.’ I feel like I’ve got to try to break world records, not just shoot for medals.”
As for Kaneto, at 28 years of age, the breaststroker is still contemplating retirement. She has reportedly not yet made up her mind if she’ll look towards Tokyo 2020, or if she will end her career earlier. Nevertheless, when receiving her Japanese swimmer of the year award, national record holder Kaneto commented, “I feel like I spent a satisfactory year and I can proudly receive this award.”