World C’ships Silver Medalist Matsumoto Time-Trialed 1:45.44 200 Free In March

Japan’s Katsuhiro Matsumoto made history at the 2019 FINA World Aquatic Championships, becoming his nation’s first-ever 200m freestyle medalist at a Worlds or Olympic Games.

The 23-year-old, whom his friends call Katsuo, punched a powerful time of 1:45.22 to snag the silver medal in Gwangju, just .29 away from gold medalist Sun Yang’s podium-topping 1:44.93. With his effort there, Matsumoto overtook the Japanese national record, lowering the previous mark of 1:45.23 that Kosuke Hagino put on the books back in 2014.

Matsumoto’s rise among the elite freestyle ranks was gearing the Central Sports-trained athlete up for possible podium placement at the 2020 Olympic Games in front of his home crowd in Tokyo. Paired with countryman Daiya Seto, double world champion from Gwangju, the duo could have really given the host nation something to cheer about at the Olympic Aquatic Center.

As such, with the postponement of the Olympic Games to July of 2021, the culmination of their momentum would not come to fruition as planned. That’s a fact which left Seto admittedly devastated, while Matsumoto also now reveals how he had trouble dealing with the reality of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact.

“After all I had done this just couldn’t happen,” Matsumoto said of the delay, according to The Japan Times.

Matsumoto can’t help but think how his aforementioned Gwangju performance coupled with his subsequent 1:45.82 clocking at January’s Kosuke Kitajima Cup put him on the path for greatness.

He had been fueling his fortitude with high-altitude training in Mexico from February to March. Per The Japan Times, the national teamer put up a 200m free time trial of 1:45.44, a mark that still would have beaten co-bronze medalists at last year’s World Championships, Duncan Scott of Great Britain and Martin Malyutin of Russia (tied at 1:45.63).

“It showed I have the ability to swim 1:44,” said Matsumoto of his one-man training race. “I was going to push toward the 43-second level at an altitude training camp in June.”

Highlighting the competitiveness worldwide of the men’s 200m freestyle, Matsumoto’s coach Yoji Suzuki says it’s going to take something super special to take gold in Tokyo. “Someone is definitely going to swim 1:43 at the Olympics,” he said.

Until that time, Matsumoto is doing what the rest of the world is at the moment, which is doing the best with what he has to work with. He took some time off and resumed training mid-April, charged with another year of pushing himself to new heights with potential Olympic glory on the line.

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Colt Simonelli

It would be cool to see him get a medal at the Olympics, seeing how Tokyo is hosting.


Hope he doesnt suffer the time trial curse….not sure having this out in public helps him!


He will tank when the chips are on the line.

Colt Simonelli

He didn’t last world champs


If Hagino gets back to his best Japan could contend for a medal in the 800 free relay. That is 2 potential 1:44s


There are, at least, three teams (Great Britain, Australia and Usa) very, very competitive and the 12 months delay looks perfect for shaping up a “British dream team”: Scott, Guy, Dean and Richards.


The 4×200 was a great race at he last world champs…but I cant find the race online???


FINA TV has it but you have to pay I think




Reading my mind. The potential of that 4×2 in 2021 and 2024 has me excited; So many fast young freestylers in GBR atm.


The 4×200 relay is as competitive as it has ever been.

Australia, USA, Russia, GB, Italy, Japan all with a legitimate chance of a medal. No clear favourite for gold either.


I think realistically the first 4 nations are probably going to be the ones with the medals. One interesting find that I had I see that the United States are actually only the 4th best team on paper after Australia, Russia and Great Britain respectively based on aggregate times since the start of 2019.


we still havent seen what the Us team members were capable of this year ….


Brazil as well


Seto could probably go a 1:45


I think he has gone 1:45 earlier this year

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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