Tokyo Tourney: Irie Strikes Again, Hagino Hits Season-Best 200 IM

2020 TOKYO SPECIAL SWIMMING TOURNAMENT

We already reported on Suzuka Hasegawa‘s stellar 200m fly outing here at the Tokyo Special Swimming Tournament, but several other performances highlighted day 2 at Tatsumi International Swimming Centre.

After falling just short of victory in the men’s 200m backstroke last night, 30-year-old Olympic medalist Ryosuke Irie got on top of the 100m back sprint podium to close out his meet.

Splitting 25.79/27.35, Irie posted a winning 1back effort of 53.14, a mark that ranks among the world’s best for the season. Irie already owns the quickest result in the world in 2020 with his 52.59 from January’s Kosuke Kitajima Cup.

The man holds a personal best and Japanese national record of 52.24 logged at the 2009 Australian Championships. In Jakarta two years ago, Irie turned in a time of 52.53 to take the 2018 Asian Games silver behind China’s world champion Xu Jiayu.

Behind Irie tonight were Riku Matsuyama and Junya Koga, the World Championships medalist who is racing in his first meet in over 2 1/2 years. Koga topped the 50m backstroke podium last night and touched in a mark of 54.99 to finish .10 behind tonight’s silver medalist Matsuyama.

Another Olympic medalist in the water tonight came in the form of 26-year-old Kosuke Hagino. The Bridgestone swimmer threw down a mark of 1:58.20 to take the men’s 200m IM ahead of Takeharu Fujimori. Fujimori produced a time of 1:59.59 to settle for silver in the race.

Splits for Hagino’s 1:58.20 win included 25.23/54.47/1:28.74 to put him on par with the 1:58.62 exhibition swim domestic rival and reigning world champion Daiya Seto registered also this week while racing at the Waseda/Keio dual.

For Hagino, his mark here also overtakes his best time of 2020, which was represented by the 1:59.23 logged at the Konami Open. He now ranks 11th in the world this season.

Both Hagino and Fujimori are making comebacks of sorts, with Hagino still getting back to form since taking a 5-month racing hiatus last year coupled with the coronavirus-related racing drought this year. The new dad said that the Olympic postponement works to his advantage, stating, “I’m definitely better even now in this area than during the time prior to the Olympic postponement.

“Before then, I felt like I was running out of time. But, since I don’t have any immediate meets to race at right now, I can think about my swimming slowly and deliberately.”

“That’s why I want to cherish this gift of another year.” You can read our previous report on Hagino’s comeback here.

As far as Fujimori, we reported how this Tokyo tourney was the man’s return to racing since having served a 4-month suspension for having tested positive for a banned substance last year.

Nao Horomura produced a winning time of 1:57.72 to top the men’s 200m fly podium, just out-touching Terada Takumi by .16. Horomura also competed at the aforementioned Waseda/Keio dual, putting up a time of 52.35 to win the 100m fly there.

Additional Winners:

  • Reona Aoki won the women’s 200m breast in a mark of 2:24.70, giving her a 2+ second advantage over the rest of the field.
  • The women’s 100m free saw just one swimmer get under 55 seconds, with Chihiro Igarashi getting it done in 54.95. Similarly, just one man dipped under the 50-second threshold in the same event, with Kawane Masahiro putting up 49.57 for gold.
  • Rio Shirai added a 100m back victory to her 200m free gold from night 1. She clocked a time of 1:01.04 to reap backstroke gold.

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Khachaturian
2 months ago

Great to see Hagino motivated again

Virtus
2 months ago

Whoah I didn’t think hagino would be a factor but if he’s where seto is at right now he very well might be.

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
2 months ago

Whoa, 1:58.20 from Hagino is no joke. He is coming back.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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