2021 JAPAN OPEN
- Thursday, February 4th – Sunday, February 7th
- Tokyo Aquatics Centre
- LCM (50m)
- Entry List (in Japanese)
- SwimSwam Preview
- Day 1 Prelims
- Live Stream
In addition to eye-catching performances by the likes of Daiya Seto, Reona Aoki and Katsumi Nakamura on day 1 of this 2021 Japan Open, Waka Kobori also made things happen to kick-off her calendar year of racing.
Contesting the women’s 400m free tonight in Tokyo, 20-year-old Kobori clinched the gold medal in a speedy 4:07.24, a lifetime best.
Entering this meet, Kobori’s quickest 400m free was represented by the 4:08.59 she posted last October at the Inter-College Swimming Championships. As such, her gold medal-worthy outing here sliced more than a second off of her previous PB en route to getting under the 4:08 threshold for the first time in a big way.
Splits for Kobori’s swim are below:
Kobori’s 4:07.24 monster swim now checks her in as Japan’s 4th fastest woman of all-time and the nation’s top performer in nearly 3 years.
All-Time Japanese Women LCM 400 Freestyle Performers
- Ai Shibata – 4:05.19, 2007
- Sayaka Kashiwazaki – 4:06.23, 2018
- Sachiko Yamada – 4:07.23, 2002
- Waka Kobori – 4:07.24, 2020
- Chihiro Igarashi – 4:07.52, 2016
Kobori is no stranger to the podium, having reaped 800m and 1500m freestyle bronze medals at the 2018 Asian Games. Prior to that, she took bronze as a member of Japan’s 800m free relay at the 2017 World Junior Championships.
For perspective, Kobori’s 4:07.24 result tonight would have rendered her as the 7th place finisher in Gwangju at the 2019 FINA World Championships.
For now, she ranks as the 6th fastest performer in the world this season.