Disclaimer: Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The Swim of the Week is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.
The men’s 200 free might be one of the most wide-open races in the Olympic year.
China’s Sun Yang won the 2016 Olympic gold medal and both the 2017 and 2019 World Championships. But with Sun’s status in doubt amid an ongoing doping case, the battle for Tokyo Olympic gold could go in any direction.
Japan’s Katsuhiro Matsumoto is making a name for himself in that gold medal hunt.
The 23-year-old shaved a tenth off his own national record this week, going 1:45.13 to win the Kosuke Kitajima Cup in Tokyo.
That’s the best time in the world this season, supplanting former leader Alexander Graham of Australia, who went 1:45.69 back in December. In fact, Matsumoto is the 6th-fastest swimmer in this entire expanded Olympic quad. Only four men (Sun, Danas Rapsys, Clyde Lewis and Duncan Scott) have broken 1:45 since the Rio Olympics, and Matsumoto just got closer than anyone besides a 1:45.03 Townley Haas has since the last Olympics.