Japan Swim: Kosuke Kitajima Scorches 100 Breast for Asian Record; Yuka Kato Sets National Record of Her Own Video Available -- April 3, 2012
TOKYO, Japan, April 3. ONLY two finals were contested on night two of the Japan Swim in Tokyo, and both produced an Asian and national record in the meet serving as Japan's Olympic Trials. In sum, three swimmers clinched spots on the Olympic roster for Japan this evening.
According to Swimming World Japanese correspondent Hideki Mochizuki, Japan is utilizing a different qualifying standard instead of the FINA A and B cut times. This much-faster cut will be applied by Japan in a similar fashion to the FINA A cut, where Japan will only select two swimmers if they both clock a faster time than the cut.
FINALS Women's 100 fly Cut: 58.30 Yuka Kato made her way onto the Olympic roster in impressive fashion with a Japanese record in the event. She threw down a 57.77 for the win, clipping her lifetime best of 57.80 from the 2011 Japanese Nationals last April that had stood as the national mark. She moved up for 35th in the all time rankings to a 34th-place tie with Mary DeScenza Mohler, who incidentally has been living in Japan with her military husband after retiring from the sport. Notably, Kato moved to sixth in the world this year with her swim.
Nao Kobayashi missed qualifying for the squad with a 58.61, off the tough Japanese qualifying standard. Her swim moved her to 17th in the world rankings. Tomoyo Fukuda (58.88), Rino Hosoda (59.01), Yai Watanabe (59.75), Hiroko Sugino (1:00.09), Kei Hoshiba (1:00.43) and Maho Takiguchi (1:01.01) also vied for the event title.
Men's 100 breast Cut: 1:00.39 Kosuke Kitajima qualified for the 2012 London Olympics in emphatic fashion, with a blazing fast 58.90 to lower his continental record. That performance clipped the 58.91 he set at the 2008 Olympics, and moved him closer to Alexander Dale Oen's textile best of 58.71 from the 2011 World Championships, as well as Brenton Rickard's world record of 58.58 set during the techsuit era.
Kitajima is now in line to have a shot at becoming the first man to win three straight Olympic gold medals in an event, unless Michael Phelps gets there first in the men's 400 IM in London. Kitajima is the two-time reigning 100 and 200 breast Olympic gold medalist, and is vying for a third victory in both this year.
Ryo Tateishi will join him on the Olympic squad after cracking 1:00 with a 59.60, just off his lifetime best of 59.48 from 2009. Kitajima's time is the best in the world, bettering his 59.31 from semis yesterday. Tateishi joins Kitajima and Christian Sprenger (59.91) as the only men to clear 1:00 thus far this year.
Akihiro Yamaguchi placed third in 1:00.66, just off the qualifying standard and outside the top three, but good enough for 14th in the world rankings. Hiromasa Sakimoto finished fourth in 1:00.86 for 18th in the world.
Kohei Tominaga (1:01.17), Naoya Tomita (1:01.25), Yasuhiro Koseki (1:01.27) and Daiki Sakata (1:01.49) also competed in the finale.
Video of the race
SEMIFINALS Men's 200 free Cut: 1:46.69 Takeshi Matsuda posted the top qualifying time with a 1:46.84, just off the Japanese qualifying standard. He moved into a sixth-ranked tie with Sun Yang's season best from Australian in January.Syo Sotodate took second in 1:48.46, while Chiaki Ishibashi finished third in 1:48.55.
Syogo Hihara (1:48.56), Yuki Kobori (1:48.63), Syo Uchida (1:48.82), Yuya Horihata (1:49.80) and Hioraki Yamamoto (1:49.92) also made their way into the finale.
Women's 200 free Cut: 1:57.15 Japan will have some work to do in the finale to make its tougher internal Olympic qualifying standard. Haruka Ueda finished with a 1:58.49 for the top time in semis, more than a second off the Japanese qualifying mark. Hanae Ito took second in 1:58.52.
Yayoi Matsumoto (1:59.68), Chihiro Igarashi (2:00.49), Aya Takano (2:00.63), Mari Sumiyoshi (2:00.70), Misaki Yamaguchi (2:00.81) and Yasuko Miyamoto (2:01.09) finished third through eighth to make the finale as well.
Women's 100 breast Cut: 1:07.79 Plenty of Japanese swimmers are well within distance of qualifying for the Olympic squad in this event. Satomi Suzuki (1:07.31) and Fumiko Kawanabe (1:07.68) demonstrated their ability to clear the Japanese standard, and moved to seventh and 10th in the world, respectively, in the process. Mina Matsushima finished third in 1:07.86, while Kanako Watanabe took fourth in 1:08.17. Matsushima earned 11th in the world, while Watanabe took 17th in the world.
Maya Hamano (1:08.21), Keiko Fukudome (1:08.23), Miku Kanasashi (1:08.31) and Nanaka Tamura (1:08.46) placed fifth through eighth to round out the championship heat.
Men's 100 back Cut: 54.09 Ryosuke Irie bettered his season best in the event with a 53.17 to lead semis. That swim clipped the third-ranked 53.32 he set in January, but was just shy of Liam Tancock's 53.16 from British Trials for second in the world this year. Camille Lacourt owns the top time of 52.75.
Yuki Shirai finished second in 54.37, while Junya Koga took third in 54.38, both within striking distance of the Japanese Olympic qualifying standard. Shirai moved to 19th in the world, while Koga took 20th.
Takashi Iyobe (54.73), Kazuki Watanabe (54.79), Masafumi Yamaguchi (54.85), Yamato Ujibayashi (54.87) and Yusuke Kudo (55.23) qualified fourth through eighth to make the finale.