PHOENIX, Arizona, April 3. KOSUKE Kitajima made it known to the world that he is serious about his quest to win a third straight Olympic title in the 100 breaststroke with a 58.90 earlier today at the Japanese Olympic Trials. This is Kitajima's lifetime best, a national record and Asian record, his previous having come at the 2008 Olympics. The time is clearly the fastest in the world. According to Hideki Mochizuki, our correspondent there at the meet, Kitajima's coach Dave Salo is on deck in Japan, having arrived in time to see the 100 breast final. Japan will have two legitimate medal contenders in the 100 breast, as Ryo Tateishi placed second with a 59.60. Only one other swimmer was named to the Japanese Olympic squad today, and that was Yuka Kato in the 100 fly. Her winning time of 57.77 broke the national record and is now sixth-fastest in the world.
China is also making big statements at their nationals this week. Sun Yang, most likely pre-selected for the Olympics based on his superb swims at last summer's world championships, swam the fastest 400 freestyle in the world so far with a 3:42.31. Sun was still two seconds off his lifetime best, which is a 3:40.29 from last summer's nationals. The big surprise in that 400 free final was Zhang Lin, the reigning Olympic silver medalist, finishing fourth after faltering at the 300 mark.
Another Chinese swimmer likely pre-qualified was 200 IM world champion Ye Shiwen, who swam a 2:09.43 in the event today, the second-fastest in the world this year behind Stephanie Rice. Ye won worlds last summer with a 2:08.90. Cheng Feiyi broke the national record in the men's 100 back with a 53.67, putting him sixth in the world and boosting China's medley relay chances.