Seto & Watanabe Each Post 2:01 In 200 Breaststroke Duel In Japan


  • Saturday, October 22nd & Sunday, October 23rd
  • Tatsumi International Swimming Center, Tokyo, Japan
  • SCM (25m)
  • SC World Championships-qualifying meet
  • Entries (in Japanese)
  • Results

While competing on day two of the 64th Japan Short Course Swimming Championships, Ryosuke Irie proved once again that he is one of the world’s most consistent backstrokers.

The 32-year-old handily took the gold tonight in the men’s 100m backstroke, stopping the clock in a super swift mark of 49.69. Opening in 24.12 and closing in 25.57, Irie beat the domestic field by well over a second en route to putting up the second-fastest performance of his career.

Irie owns the Japanese national record with the 49.66 he produced at this same meet last year. As such, the multi-Olympic medalist fell just .02 shy of his lifetime best en route to topping the podium.

Irie’s 49.69 checks in among the top 30 performances of all-time in this race and represents the first sub-50 second outing worldwide this season. His time would have placed 5th at the 2021 FINA Short Course World Championships, a competition at which Japan did not send an official roster.

2022-2023 SCM Men 100 Back

View Top 26»

Olympic medalist Daiya Seto was also in the water tonight, taking on the tough 200m breast/200m IM double. He, too, came within striking distance of his own national record in the former event, logging a winning effort of 2:01.63.

Seto was behind at the 100m mark, trailing one-time long course 200m breaststroke world record holder Ippei Watanabe. However, Seto stepped things up on the back half to close in on Watanabe and ultimately beat him by just .07. Watanabe settled for silver in 2:01.70.

Seto’s national record in this 2breast event rests at the 2:01.30 he put up during the 2017 FINA World Cup Series. That result ranks the 28-year-old as the 5th fastest performer in history.

As for Watanabe, his 2:01.70 outing tonight establishes a new lifetime best, wiping out his previous career-quickest of 2:02.91 from 2 years ago. He now rockets up the list of all-time performers to insert himself in slot #10.

Looking back at the 2021 FINA Short Course Championships, both Seto and Watanabe would have taken gold with their times tonight. In Abu Dhabi, it took American Nic Fink a mark of 2:02.28 to top the podium.

Seto also grabbed gold in the men’s 200m IM this evening, beating out the newly-minted 200m butterfly World Record holder Tomoru Honda.

The two were engaged in a tight battle all the way to the wall, with Seto ultimately touching in a time of 1:51.83 to Honda’s 1:51.97.

Seto’s effort falls just over a second outside of his best-ever, a time of 1:50.66 from last year which rendered him the world’s 3rd fastest performer of all time. Only World Record holder Ryan Lochte of the United States (1:49.63) and now-retired Olympic champion Kosuke Hagino (1:50.47) have been faster.

Honda’s effort here represents a new lifetime best, destroying the 1:54.73 he produced in October of 2020. For his effort, Honda now ranks among the top 20 all-time performers in the event.

23-year-old Rio Shirai was another double winner on the night, topping the women’s 100m free and 100m back podiums.

First, in the 100m free, Shirai posted a time of 52.85, characterized by splits of 25.67/27.18. She easily beat the field en route to establishing her best time ever. She managed to slice .02 off of the 52.87 result she logged at this same meet 3 years ago.

Shirai also got it done for gold in the 1back, winning the race in a time of 56.91. That falls within a second of her lifetime best of 56.00 from 2019.

Katsuhiro Matsumoto took both the men’s 100m free as well as the 400m free this evening. After winning the men’s 200m free yesterday in a new Japanese national record, Matsumoto reaped a time of 46.85 to climb atop the 100m free podium on day two.

Producing the only sub-47 second time of the field, Matsumoto’s outing here nearly matches the exact effort he registered at this meet last year, which was 46.84.

Katsumi Nakamura got the wall in 47.16, good enough for silver in tonight’s race, while Kaiya Seki rounded out the top 3 in 47.45.

Matsumoto narrowly beat out Shogo Takeda in the men’s 400m free, winning the race by only .16. Matsumoto clocked 3:40.05 to grab the gold while Takeda, who took the men’s 1500m free victory yesterday in a new national record, snagged silver in 3:40.21.

Matsumoto owns the Japanese standard in this 400m free with the 3:37.94 he registered at the Chiba Prefectural Championships in January of 2020.

Yesterday’s 100m breaststroke victor for the women, Reona Aoki, proved too quick to catch tonight in the 50m sprint. Aoki clocked a time of 29.59 to come within .02 of her own national record.

Yui Ohashi repeated as a gold medalist as well, following up her 100m IM victory from day one with a win in the 200m IM.

In this longer race, Ohashi produced a time of 2:07.09 to just out-touch 15-year-old Mio Narita. Narita earned a time of 2:07.25 to follow up on her 400m IM gold from night one.

The men’s 100m fly saw Yuya Tanaka rattle the national record. Tanaka touched in a time of 49.72 to come within .18 of Takeshi Kawamoto‘s national standard of 49.54 he put on the books 2 years ago.

Tonight’s effort represents just Tanaka’s 2nd time ever under the 50-second threshold, with his 49.72 overtaking his previous personal best of 49.92 from 2021.

Silver in this men’s 1fly went to Yuya Sakamoto who was also sub-50 in a result of 49.93. Takaya Yasue finished in 49.95 for bronze while the aforementioned record holder Kawamoto was off the podium in 4th with a time of 50.09

Additional Winners

  • 2019 World Junior Championships silver medalist Miyu Namba clocked a time of 4:00.97 to win the women’s 400m freestyle.
  • The women’s 200m breast saw Yumeno Kusuda post a time of 2:21.36 to take the gold.
  • Ai Soma and Moe Tsuda raced exactly the same in the women’s 100m butterfly, down to the touch. Each opened in 26.56 and ultimately got to the wall simultaneously in 56.71 to become co-gold medalists.
  • Yuya Hinomoto reaped the gold in the men’s 50m breast along with Masaki Niiyama. Both touched in a time of 26.26.




In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

Tomoru Honda is that guy. His prime is showing to be SCARY.

1 year ago

Seto has to be one of the most consistent swimmer in the sc 200 br scene, including those that swim the event as their main events

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
1 year ago

Irie did not swim the 200 back, either here or at Worlds. Is he shifting focus away from that event? A shame if so, as it isn’t a very deep event internationally.

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 »