On the final day of the 2012 Japan Open in Tokyo, we saw some more great swims by the veterans, but there were also some strong swims by the youth contingent.
The former was highlighted by a second National Record from backstroker Aya Terakawa. She swam a 27.71 to again skim just under her own record by .02 seconds, similarly to what she did on Friday evening in the 100 backstroke. That ranks her second in the world this year behind only Russia’s Anastasia Zueva.
But as is so often true at this Japan Open, which falls between Nationals and whatever the summer’s big championship meet is, there were some great young surprises cropping up, including a pair of new Junior National Records.
The first went to 16-year old Miki Uchida in the 50 freestyle with a 25.33 win. That improved upon her runner-up finish in the 100 on Saturday (though that also gave her a junior record). The country’s best senior sprinter Haruka Ueda took 2nd in 25.42, just outpacing Yayoi Matsumoto’s 25.45.
The men’s 50 was won by Shinri Shioura in 22.28. He had a difficult Olympic Trials meet, but has been much better this weekend.
In the men’s 200 IM, a pair of swimmers broke two minutes in this meet. 18-year old Kosuke Hagino won the race in 1:58.43, just missing his best time from Nationals. The much older Ken Takakuwa, at 27, was 2nd in 1:59.29.
In the men’s 200 breaststroke, Ryo Tateishi won in 2:09.07, which is the 5th-fastest time in the world this year (his 2:08.1 from Trials ranks #2). But as good as that time was, it wasn’t even the story of this race. 18-year old Akihiro Yamaguchi stole the headlines by breaking his own Junior National Record by half-a-second with a 2:09.22 – ranking 4th in the world this year.
In the women’s 200 breaststroke, the top 6 swimmers were 2:26 or better, led by Satomi Suzuki in 2:24.37. Rie Kaneto was 2nd in 2:25.09, and 15-year old Kanako Watanabe was 3rd in 2:25.27. This was the meet where, one year ago, Watanabe broke onto the international scene with a 2:23.
Full Meet Results available here.