TOKYO, Japan, April 13. THE first night of swimming at the Japanese Long Course Nationals produced some strong times, including a national record during prelims.
During prelims, Kosuke Kitajima lowered the men's 50 breast national record with a time of 27.30. That performance wiped out the 27.43 set by Yuki Honda last year in Rome. The effort is also the fastest in the world this year, clearing Brenton Rickard's 27.40 from last month. Kitajima later settled for second in the finale with a time of 27.71 with Ryo Tateishi earning the crown in 27.66, the now third-fastest time in the world this year. Yuuta Suenaga took third in 27.86.
Takeshi Matsuda won the men's 400 free in 3:46.59, which moved him to second in the world this year behind only Tae Hwan Park's world-best effort of 3:45.03. Syo Uchida placed second in 3:49.30, while Junpei Higashi touched third in 3:52.43.
Satomi Suzuki claimed the women's 50 breast title in 31.70, just holding off Mina Matsushima's second-place tally of 31.83. Both times are among the top 15 in the world so far this year. Fumiko Kawanade wound up third overall in 31.91.
Maiko Fujino captured the women's 400 free in 4:13.14, while Yurie Yano finished second in 4:13.88. Kazuki Wakanami grabbed third overall in 4:14.35.
In semifinal action, Haruka Ueda topped qualifying in the women's 50 free with a 25.70. Yayoi Matsumoto (25.81) and Chiaki Shimonaka (25.87) claimed the second and third seeds into finals. Masayuki Kishida led the way in the men's 50 free semis with a 22.39. That effort tied him with Australia's Matthew Abood for seventh in the world this year. Makoto Itou (22.76) and Kazuhisa Hotta (22.79) rounded out the top three seeds.
Izumi Katou clocked a 2:14.02 in the women's 200 IM semis, moving into the top 10 in the world this year. Miho Takahashi qualified second in 2:14.94, while Tomoyo Fukuda claimed third in 2:15.25. Takurou Fujii (1:59.85) and Yuuya Horihata (1:59.87) joined a handful of swimmers to have cleared 2:00 this year in the men's 200 IM during the semifinal round. James Goddard (1:57.76), Leith Brodie (1:59.60), Joseph Roebuck (1:59.71) and Eric Shanteau (1:59.75) are the others under 2:00 so far this year.