2021 JAPAN OPEN
- Thursday, February 4th – Sunday, February 7th
- Tokyo Aquatics Centre
- LCM (50m)
- Entry List (in Japanese)
- SwimSwam Preview
- Day 1 Prelims
- Live Stream
The 2021 Japan Open kicked off today with solid swimming from some of the nation’s brightest Olympic hopefuls.
In addition to the battle between Kosuke Hagino and Daiya Seto in the men’s 400m IM, of which you can read more about here, there were two age records that bit the dust as well. The women’s 400m free winner, Waka Kobori, took down the youth record en route to victory in 4:07.24, while the men’s 50m fly saw Yuya Tanaka take down the age record there in 23.35. Look for separate posts on those remarkable swims.
The other races tonight in Tokyo were just as fiery, with 19-year-old Shoma Sato taking on former 200m breast world record holder Ippei Watanabe. Contesting the 100m breaststroke sprint, Sato earned the edge, getting to the wall first in a time of 59.67. Watanabe was just a fingernail behind, registering 59.75 for silver.
The race was a heated dual from the get-go, with Watanabe splitting 28.29 at the halfway point to Sato’s 28.34. Both men brought it home strong to represents the only swimmers under a minute in tonight’s race.
Sato has already been as fast as 59.55 this season, although that performance took place last October. For Watanabe, he entered the world rankings in this men’s 100m breast with his performance tonight, taking on slot #10. Look for this same type of match-up later in the meet in the 200m breaststroke.
The women’s edition of the 100m breast saw Reona Aoki get it done for gold in the only sub-1:07 result. Posting a time of 1:06.98, Aoki nearly matched the 1:06.94 she raced just last month at the Kosuke Kitajima Cup.
National record holder Katsumi Nakamura raced his way to men’s 100m free gold tonight in a solid outing of 48.53. Splitting 23.52/25.01, Nakamura sneaked into the wall just .10 ahead of the 2019 World Championships silver medalist in the 200 free, Katsuo Matsumoto. Matsumoto touched tonight in 48.63 to pair with Nakamura as the only swimmers to get under the 49-second threshold.
Matsumoto’s season-best is just a hair quicker than his effort tonight, with the man having posted a time of 48.58 at last month’s Kosuke Kitajima Cup. That rendered him as the 9th fastest swimmer entering tonight’s final.
Nakamura’s 48.53 gold medal-worthy swim now checks the 26-year-old as the 8th fastest performer in the world this season.