Rio Shirai Cranks Out 2:07.87 200 Back At Japanese Student C’ships


The Japanese Student Swimming Championships got underway in Tokyo today, with a strong contingent taking to the Tatsumi International Swiming Centre waters. Through just day 1, already 2 individual meet records bit the dust, first in the women’s 400m free, then in the women’s 200m back.

For the former, Waka Kobori fired off a winning time of 4:10.52 to beat the women’s 400m free field and land atop the podium. Her time tonight sliced .02 off of the previous meet record of 4:10.52 and gave her the gold by over a second. For perspective, the 19-year-old produced a time of 4:11.16 at this year’s Japanese Swim, one of the nation’s World Championships qualifying meets.

Kobori is the reigning Asian Games bronze medalist in the women’s 1500m freestyle from Jakarta.

The next meet record went down courtesy of World Championships swimmer Rio Shirai, with the 19-year-old cranking out the fastest 200m back ime of her career in 2:07.87. Splitting 1:01.79/1:06.06, Shirai hit the wall over a second ahead of the rest of the field and hacked a fair chunk off of the previous meet record of 2:09.10.

In fact, Shirai’s swim is a big-time step toward taking down one of the oldest women’s records for Japan, with the 200m back national standard currently sitting at the 2:07.13 notched by Reiko Nakamura in 2008.

Shirai’s outing is also a monster improvement from what the teen produced in Gwangju at this year’s World Championships. There, she mustered just a time of 2:14.98 to ultimately finish 31st and well out of the semi-finals in the women’s 200m back. Her time tonight would have rendered Shirai in 6th place in Gwangju, for contrast.

Another strong women’s swim came from Hiroko Makino, the reigning Japanese Open Champion in the women’s 200m fly. She raced that event this evening, checking with a winning effort of 2:08.00. That edged out Olympian Suzuka Hasegawa by less than half a second, with Hasegawa touching in 2:08.36 for silver.

Sachi Mochida was also under the 2:10 barrier, rounding out the top 3 in 2:09.52.

Both Makino and Hasegawa contested the women’s 200m fly in Gwangju, with the latter finishing 10th in 2:09.22, while the former placed 11th in 2:09.60. With their outings here in Tokyo, however, the women would have finished in 7th and 8th places at that World Championships finals.

Nao Horomura was back to his winning ways in the men’s 200m fly, taking the event in a mark of 1:55.43. That narrowly defeated runner-up Daiki Tanaka, who punched a mark of 1:55.53 to finish only .10 behind. Terada Takumi collected bronze in 1:56.33.

Horomura is the 20-year-old who busted out a 200m fly time of 1:53.90 in 2017 to take that year’s World University Games title. Since then he’s been on the quieter side, although he did nail a silver behind teammate Daiya Seto in the 200m fly event last year at the Asian Games.

Additional Winners:

  • Runa Imai took the women’s 100m breast in a mark of 1:06.91, the only sub-1:07 swimmer of the field.
  • The women’s 50m free saw Rika Omoto get to the all first in a mark of 25.12.
  • Keisuke Yoshida was the men’s 400m free victor, clocking a time of 3:50.45.
  • Masahiro Kawane took the men’s 50m free in a mark of 22.23.
  • The men’s 100m breast winner was Takuya Haraguchi in 1:00.31

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
The Ready Room
4 years ago

Horomura’s the guy with the Sun Yang-esque stroke count in the 200 fly, right?

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  The Ready Room
4 years ago

Yup. The guy who fly like a dolphin

J in A
Reply to  The Ready Room
4 years ago

Nah that’s Yuya Yajima

The Ready Room
Reply to  J in A
4 years ago

Ah you’re right, got ’em mixed up. I remember Horomura and Milak trading off crazy fast junior times in 2017 now.

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.

Read More »