2019 JAPAN SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Tuesday, April 2nd – Monday, April 8th
- Tatsumi International Swimming Center, Tokyo, Japan
- Qualifying Meet for 2019 World Championships
- Meet Site
- SwimSwam Preview
- Psych Sheets (in Japanese)
- Day 1 Recap/Day 2 Recap/Day 3 Recap/Day 4 Recap
- Live Stream
24-year-old Daiya Seto took his 2nd gold of these championships, which also serve as the first of two qualifying meets for the World Championships this summer in Gwangju, Korea. Swimmers will also have another opportunity next month at the Japan Open Swim.
After hitting the men’s 200m fly mark last night to qualify for Gwangju, Seto manhandled the 200m IM field this evening to rack up his 2nd victory. Entering this meet, Seto’s season-best rested at the 1:56.98 produced in January, a mark that stood as the 3rd fastest in the world.
This evening, splitting 54.34/1:02.35, Seto threw down his best time this season, hitting 1:56.69 to clear the JPN-mandated QT of 1:57.98 to qualify for this summer’s World Championships.
Of note, two major players were missing in the field, as Olympic silver medalist Kosuke Hagino is tending to his mental health needs to keep on his journey to Tokyo, while Hirmasa Fujimori is suspended pending a doping case investigation. Fujimori finished 4th in this event at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Going back to Seto, his time tonight would have placed 4th at the 2017 edition of the World Championships, beating out his own time in Budapest of 1:56.97 that rendered the new Dad in 5th place.
The women’s 100m freestyle was missing its usual superstar Rikako Ikee, the teenage Olympian and multiple national record holder who is battling leukemia just months after having won the first-ever female Asian Games MVP honor.
In her stead, 24-year-old Olympic relay swimmer Tomomi Aoki soared to the top of the podium, taking the 100m free gold in a new personal best of 54.45. Her time tonight slices .24 off of her former lifetime best of 54.69 clocked at the Pan Pacific Championships where she finished 5th.
Unfortunately for the women, not only did none of them clear the stiff 53.65 QT needed to individually qualify for Worlds, but the top 4 also missed the relay mark to go to Gwangju. Per the JPN selection criteria, the top 4 100m freestyle finishers needed to collectively hit a mark of 3:37.68, while the top 4 tonight added up equal a relay time of 3:38.22.
Just for perspective, Japan finished 7th in Budapest at the last edition of the World Championships, with the foursome of Ikee (54.59), Aoki (54.45), Yui Yamane (54.62) and Igarashi touching in 3:38.24.
Although he holds the National Record in 47.87, Katsumi Nakamura was well off that result tonight in the men’s 100m freestyle final. Opening in 23.37, Nakamura ultimately hit the wall in 48.55, a relatively disappointing result, seeing how the 25-year-old has already been as fast as 48.12 this year.
Former national record holder Shinri Shioura touched just .03 behind to settle for silver in 48.58, his fastest of the season Katsuhiro Matsumoto, the 200m freestyle winner here in a Gwangju-qualfying mark, hit the wall in 48.71 for bronze. That’s Matsumoto’s 2nd time ever under the 49-second threshold, giving him a lifetime best on the night.
As with the women, however, no 100m freestyler for the men qualified individually for the World Championships with their performances. A 48.11 was needed to earn a roster spot, so the slot is vacant until someone potentially hits it at next month’s Japan Open.
The good news is that the top 4 finishers all clocked a collective time of 3:15.06, a result which dips under the JPN QT of 3:15.70, so the nation should be able to be represented in Gwangju in the relay. In Budapest, the Japanese men hit a time of 3:15.65 for a new National Record, so the nation is on the right track to surpass that in Gwangju.
Also good news is the fact that we saw 15 Japanese men go under 50 seconds in last night’s semi-finals in this event, while today’s final saw 3 sub-49 second results. That’s promising for the nation’s sprint program, which is still evolving with every meet.
The women’s 200m fly saw Suzuka Hasegawa power her way to the finish line first in a super solid 2:07.44, clearing the QT of 2:07.49. Hasegawa was quicker in last night’s semi, registering 2:07.21, but she still got teh job done tonight for gold.
Just missing qualification was the women’s 200m IM champion here Yui Ohashi, who touched in 2:07.57, falling just .08 shy of Gwangju selection. Bronze went to Hiroko Makino, who earned the 3rd spot in 2:08.17.
Hasegawa was just 2:08.80 when she took bronze at the Asian Games last year, so tonight’s time is a nice improvement for the 19-year-old national record holder.
In semi-final action, reigning world record holder Ippei Watanabe is looking particularly strong, already nailing a time of 2:09.36 to lead the field. Yasuhiro Koseki, the men’s 50m and 100m breaststroke winner already here in Tokyo, lurks as the 3rd seed in 2:10.68.