Japan Open: Unapproved Suits Dominate Japan Open, No Japanese Records Set in Final Day

By Hideki Mochizuki, Swimming World Japanese correspondent

TOKYO, Japan, June 7. THE last day of the Japan Open concluded with no Japanese records being posted at the long course meter competition.

In the final event for superstar Ryosuke Irie, he won the men's 50 back in 25.27 to complete a backstroke sweep.

"Simply, I am happy to win the three backstroke events," Irie said. "Yesterday during the 200, there was too much pressure for the record. Today, I was just trying to enjoy the race. Closing the meet with three golds is encouraging, although I did not get a personal best. In Rome, I will put the biggest emphasis on the 200 with the 100 for the medley relay. I don't think my 50 is at a global level."

Another young, up-and-comer for Japan is Ryo Tateishi, who doubled during the meet with wins in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. He finished the 200 tonight in 2:09.94 wearing a LZR Racer, but was not too happy.

"My time today is not so fast," Tateishi said. "I wish I could get closer to Kosuke Kitajima's record (2:07.51), but it just did not happen."

Tateishi will not represent Japan in the 200 in Rome, because he took third place with a 2:09.36 at the Japanese Nationals. On the other hand, Yuta Suenaga, who won the title at nationals with a 2:08.77 in the unapproved Aquaforce Zero by Descente, placed fourth with the same suit tonight in 2:10.68.

Yuko Nakanishi was another standout this evening. Nakanishi was fifth in the women's 200 fly at the 2008 Beijing Olympic with a Japanese record of 2:06.38. She came back from a long post-Olympic break tonight with a 2:07.51 for the win. Nakanishi wore an unapproved suit by Asics.

Yesterday, Swimming World reported on the approved and unapproved suit mix situation in Japan. Today, we counted the suits worn by swimmers in finals to track the exact tendency. Overall, there were 10 finals raced with 80 swimmers involved:

Asics: 10 (12.5 percent)
Speedo: 28 (35 percent)
Koz: 10 (12.5 percent)
Descente: 20 (25 percent)
Yamaho: 3 (3.7 percent)
Mizuno: 9 (11.3 percent)

Speedo was well-represented with the LZR Racer, but rubber suits were just as dominant. Koz and Yamaho are individual Japanese brands that appeared last year, and both are rubber suits. Mizuno involved SST, which is their new textile product. However, some swimmers also used the Mizuno rubber suits, which were distributed at nationals in April and are unapproved. Descente grabbed the second position share behind Speedo, and most of those suits were unapproved rubber suits. Most of the Asics models in use tonight were also unapproved.

It is fair to say that about 60 percent of the races were swum in unapproved suits tonight. Japan continues to fall out of global alignment with its rules allowing swimmers to pick up fast suits that are the fastest for them. The situation is likely to continue until at least March 2010 when the Japanese Federation will begin to fall in line with FINA's rule implementation as of Jan. 1, 2010.

In other action, Tomoyo Fukuda won the women's 200 IM in 2:12.44, while Ken Takakuwa posted a 1:58.68 to win the men's 200 IM. Shiho Sakai took the women's 50 back in 28.03, while An Yumoto snatched the women's 50 free with a 25.52. Makoto Itou snared the men's 50 free in 22.43 with Takuro Fujii placing first in the men's 100 fly in 52.27. Megumi Taneda took home the women's 200 breast in 2:24.44.

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