Teen Rikako Ikee Becomes First Japanese Woman To Win 5 National Titles

JAPAN SWIM 2017 (JAPANESE NATIONALS)

  • Thursday, April 13th – Sunday, April 16th, 2017
  • NGK Arena, Nagoya, Japan
  • Qualification Meet for 2017 World Championships, World University Games and World Junior Championships
  • Prelims at 9:30am local/8:30pm (night before) EDT; Finals at 6pm local/5am EDT
  • Meet Information
  • Entry List (in Japanese)
  • Live Stream
  • Live Results

The 2017 Japan Swim, the meet which served as the nation’s World Championships trials, wrapped up yesterday in Nagoya, but not before teen phenom Rikako Ikee finished making her mark. Already a 5-time national record holder and 2016 Olympic finalist, the 16-year-old concluded her wicked-fast national meet by becoming the first Japanese woman ever to win 5 individual titles at a Japanese Championships.

Already an international swimming name having scored World Junior Records and then finaling in the women’s 100m butterfly in Rio, Ikee entered the Japanese Nationals meet as the frontrunner across the 50m/100m/200 freestyle and 50m/100m butterfly events. At the Nippon Gaishi Arena, Ikee would indeed sweep these events, first with the women’s 50m butterfly where she notched the victory in 25.51, just .01 shy of her national record.

Next on her agenda was the 200m freestyle, an event in which Ikee collected a national record of 1:56.33 earlier this year Although she was off that mark, the teen still touched in 1:57.07 to qualify for the event in Budapest. The sprint freestyles followed, where Ikee won the 100m in 53.83 and the 50 in 24.57, before winning the 100m butterfly in 57.39.

Female Japanese swimmers Tomoko Hagiwara and Kanako Watanabe each won 4 national titles in the past, with the former accomplishing the feat in 2002 and the latter more recently in 2015.

Knowing that the 2020 Olympic Games are coming to Tokyo and the fact that Ikee is making such waves at just 16, along with weapons Kosuke Hagino, Daiya Seto, Ippei Watanabe, Masato Sakai and Yasuhiro Koseki, the nation is primed to be the host country powerhouse that Brazil wasn’t able to achieve in the pool.

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About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

Loretta grew up outside Toledo, OH, where she swam age group and high school. Graduating from Xavier University, she stayed in the Cincinnati, OH area and currently resides just outside the city in Northern KY.  Loretta got back into the sport of swimming via Masters and now competes and is …

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