TOKYO, Japan, June 4. THE first day of long course meter swimming at the Japan Open in Tokyo featured some strong times throughout most of the final's action. Nearly every event witnessed a world-ranked time going up on the scoreboard.
Aya Terakawa jumped up to fourth in the world in the women's 100 back with a smoking time of 59.60. She moved ahead of China's Gao Chang (59.69), while bettering her previous season-best time of 59.72 that had ranked Terakawa fifth. Shiho Sakai placed second in 1:00.51, lowering her 10th-ranked season best of 1:00.62, while Marie Kamimura touched third in 1:00.70. Kamimura moved to 13th in the world with that effort.
Junya Koga downed Ryosuke Irie, 53.51 to 53.82, in the men's 100 back finale. Koga came up short of his fifth-ranked season-best time of 53.49, while Irie also missed his fourth-ranked season-best time of 53.32 set in February. Masafumi Yamaguchi picked up third in 55.17.
"This win boosts my confidence especially since I can go 53 anytime in the middle of training," Koga told Swimming World's Hideki Mochizuki right after the race. "My condition is around 70 percent.
"I am not satisfied, but this is where I am." Irie, who twisted his right ankle heavily in March during training in the U.S., said. "I could not put good mileage in the pool in April and that dragged my confidence level. I still have a pain and doing treatment but I don't excuse though. I clearly see my challenge in the race-being slow in first 50m and also a lot of improvement needs to happen in underwater kick. Come to think of it, I don't have to be too fast now."
Sakiko Nakamura claimed the women's 800 free title in 8:36.42. That performance moved her up to 19th in the world ranking this year behind France's Camille Muffat's 8:36.20 from March. Nakamura's time is the second-fastest from a Japanese swimmer behind Maiko Fujino's 14th-ranked 8:34.91 from the Japanese Long Course Championships in April. Fujino settled for second today in 8:37.56, while Asami Chida placed third in 8:40.37.
Satomi Suzuki won the women's 200 breast in 1:08.66. That effort was more than a second back of her fifth-ranked season-best time of 1:07.64 set in April. Sayuna Sugiyama earned second in 1:09.09, while Rie Kanetou picked up third in 1:09.26.
Ryo Tateishi, the top-ranked swimmer in the world in the men's 100 breast with a 59.84 from April, snatched the title today in 1:00.51. Yuta Suenaga finished second in 1:00.90, off his fourth-ranked season-best time of 1:00.30, while Naoya Tomita placed third in 1:01.69.
Yousuke Miyamoto earned the men's 1500 free crown in 15:21.66, a few seconds off his season-beast time of 15:19.06 set in April. Kenichi Doki took second in 15:26.47, while Youhei Takiguchi grabbed third in 15:28.52.
Natsumi Hoshi, who is the second-ranked swimmer in the world in the women's 200 fly with a 2:07.27 from April, cruised to victory in the event with a 2:09.69 today. Only Jiao Liuyang of China has swum faster than Hoshi this year with a swift 2:05.46. Hiroko Sugino took second in 2:10.87, while Tomoyo Fukuda wound up third in 2:11.66.
Takeshi Matsuda nearly improved his season-best time of 1:55.18 in the men's 200 fly, which ranked him second in the world behind Nick D'Arcy's 1:54.61. However, Matsuda settled for the win with a strong time of 1:55.60 today. Ryusuke Sakata finished second in 1:56.29, just missing his fourth-ranked time of 1:56.06 from April. Kazuya Kaneda claimed third in 1:56.88, another near miss of his season-best sixth-ranked time of 1:56.34.
Hanae Ito touched first in the women's 200 free with a 1:59.70, while Haruka Ueda placed second in 1:59.97. Risa Sekine rounded out the top three in 2:00.65. Meanwhile, Yoshihiro Okumura topped the men's 200 free in 1:49.09. Syunsuke Kuzuhara finished second in 1:49.22, while Yuuki Kobori touched third in 1:49.36.