The 2017 Japan Open officially kicked off in Tokyo Friday, showcasing Olympic talents between the Japanese, British and Australians, but it was Adam Peaty who posted the top performance of the day, again cracking the 59-second barrier in the 100 breast.
Peaty, the British world record-holder in the 100 breast, continued to flex his dominance with a sub-59 seconds swim in finals of the 100 breast. Peaty charged home in a 58.82 to claim the win by over half of a second, even though it was more than a second off his 2017 best of 57.79. China’s Yan Zibei grabbed second with a time of 59.57, while Japan’s Ippei Watanabe, the world record-holder in the 200 breast, was third with a 59.80.
17-year-old Minna Atherton of Australia turned heads as she posted the top time in the women’s 100 back. Atherton posted the only sub-minute time at a 59.67 to squeeze into the top ten world rankings for 2017. Great Britain’s Kathleen Dawson picked up second place in 1:00.22, and Japan’s Miki Takahashi took third in 1:00.80.
Japanese teen sprint sensation Rikako Ikee continued her strong start to 2017 with a top showing in the women’s 200 free. Ikee, who holds the Japanese national record at a 1:56.33, turned in a sizzling 1:56.91 to finish not too far off her own record and fifth-ranked time in the world. But Ikee had to work down the stretch as countrywoman Chihiro Igarashi was closing in. Igarashi ended up settling for second, though, with her time of 1:57.10, while Australia’s Mikkayla Sheridan took third in 1:57.84.
Japan’s Masato Sakai looks like a favorite to win the world title in the 200 fly after winning Olympic silver behind Michael Phelps last summer in Rio, and he threw down a strong 1:54.78 to win his signature event Friday in Tokyo. That’s a little over a second off his world-leading time of 1:53.71. Japan’s Yuuya Yajima finished second in 1:55.35, and Great Britain’s James Guy, branching out from his typical freestyle events, was third in 1:55.91.
Suzuka Hasegawa moved into 12th in the world with her win in the women’s 200 fly, touching in 2:08.10, finishing well ahead of fellow Japanese swimmers Sachi Mochida (2:09.04) and Hiroko Makino (2:10.09).
Japan’s Satomi Suzuki held off Aussie Jessica Hansen to win the women’s 100 breast, 1:07.26 to 1:07.35, while Japan’s Reona Aoiki was just behind the top two, touching in 1:07.42. Suzuki currently ranks sixth in the world at 1:06.65, while Hansen has been just a shade quicker than her time Friday night, having posted an 18th-ranked 1:07.33.
All eight finalists in both the men’s 200 free and men’s 100 back hailed from the home nation Japan. Naito Ehara edged out 400 IM Olympic gold medalist Kosuke Hagino to win the 200 free, 1:47.04 to 1:47.10, with Daiya Seto finishing third in 1:47.76. Takeshi Kawamoto won the 100 back in 54.28, finishing two hundredths ahead of Masaki Kaneko (54.30). Third went to Junya Hasegawa in 54.59.
In timed finals of the Olympic distance events, Chinatsu Satou won the women’s 800 free for Japan with her time of 8:34.17. Two of her countrywomen, Waka Kobori (8:39.59) and Mahiro Ishii (8:40.60), took second and third, respectively. Kouhei Yamamoto took first in the men’s 1500 free in 15:12.08, while Japan’s Takeda Syogo was second (15:13.90) and Great Britian’s Daniel Jervis third (15:17.40).