72nd National Sports Festival of Japan
- Friday, September 15th & Saturday, September 16th
- Matsuyama Pool, Central Park, Ehime Prefecture
- Start Lists/Results (in Japanese)
The 72nd National Sports Festival of Japan kicked off today in the Ehime Prefecture with some of the nation’s biggest aquatic stars taking to the Matsuyama Pool. Although Olympic gold medalist Kosuke Hagino is off training in America, his fellow Olympians Daiya Seto, Rikako Ikee and Katsumi Nakamura were among the key talent making waves on day 1.
Of note, this tournament is typically a 3-day affair, but was cut down to 2 days due to monsoon. Additionally, there are different age brackets for swimming competition, broken down into Youth ‘B’, Youth ‘A’ and ‘Adults’. The B group are typically composed of 3rd year junior high school and 1st year high school students, while the A group is represented by 2nd and 3rd year high school students. Adults are classified by those athletes having been born before and including April 1st of 1999.
Highlights of today’s races include a new meet record by teen Rikako Ikee in the women’s 100m freestyle. Holding the national record with her time of 53.68 from last year, it took Ikee just 54.10 to clock the fastest time of the field today and win by over a second.
Also scoring a new meet record is on-fire IMer Yui Ohashi, who gave Hungarian powerhouse Katinka Hosszu a run for her money in Budapest in the 200m distance. At those World Championships, Ohashi finished less than a second behind Hosszu with a time of 2:07.91, establishing herself as the new national record holder in the 200m IM event. Today Ohashi got the job done in a mark of 2:10.31, a solid time at this point in the season. That checked in as a new meet record, surpassing the previous standard of 2:10.90.
Olympic bronze medalist Daiya Seto was on top of the men’s 200m IM field, cranking out a quick 1:57.17 for the win. For perspective that time would have made the final in Budapest. Seto is among the top 15 fastest performers of all time in this event, having earned a personal best of 1:56.82 back in 2015. Tonight’s effort was just .65 off that mark.
National record holder Katsumi Nakamura made his presence known in the 100m freestyle sprint, taking the event in a time of 48.64, a new meet record. That crushes the disappointing 49.10 he produced in heats in Budapest, which rendered him 28th and well out of the semi-finals.
2017 World University Games finalist Yuki Kobori continued his 100m butterfly time improvements, this time cranking out a winning effort of 51.69. Tonight’s result represents just the 2nd time the 23-year-old has dipped under the 52-second threshold. Earlier this season He notched his first sub-52 time with a 51.98 at the 2017 Japan Swim. Also this year, Kobori produced a speedy 52.09 that garnered him 5th place in Taipei.
Competition concludes tomorrow at the Matsuyama pool.