Shortly after finishing fifth in the men’s 200-meter breast at the 2016 Japanese Olympics Trials, breaststroke legend Kosuke Kitajima called it a career.
“This has become my last serious race,” Kitajima said. “I will never feel this excitement again. I have no regrets. This is it for me in competition. It hurts, but I feel like I’ve done everything I can.”
Kitajima had the chance at making the Japanese Olympic team in the men’s 100-meter breast earlier in the meet after posted a 59.62 in prelims, but he was unable to replicate that speed as he slipped to second with a 59.93 that did not clear Japan’s own Olympic selection time.
Kitajima finishes his career as the most decorated breaststroker of all time with four Olympic gold medals spanning the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics, where he won both the 100 and 200 breaststroke events.
He also claimed a trio of long course world titles including wins in the 100 and 200 breast in 2003 and a 200 breast victory in 2007.
Race video of Kitajima’s final race:
Special thanks to Hideki Mochizuki for contributing to this report.