Japanese Olympic Trials, Day 2: Onishi, Morita Smash National Records

By Hideko Mochizuki

TOKYO, April 21. THREE finals were held on the second day of the Japanese National Championships and Olympic Trials tonight, and two of them produced national records.

The first Japanese record came in the first event of the night when Junko Onishi smashed Ayari Aoyama's long-standing record of 58.79 for 100 meters butterfly. Aoyama’s record was established at the 1998 World Championships in Perth. Tonight, Onishi erased that mark with a 58.62-second effort.

Turning first in 27.47 seconds at 50 meters, Onishi breathed every other stroke coming home. "It was very hard going into the last seconds of the race. I thought I had done 59 seconds, so I was surprised when I saw the board read 58.62."

The 29 year-old veteran Onishi had already expressed her desire to retire after this season and she reaffirmed it tonight. "I will do my best in Athens and hopefully will retire without anything left" she said right after the race.

Yuko Nakanishi was a solid second in 59.46, bettering the IOC's Olympic qualifying standard.

In the men's 100m backstroke, the Japanese record was smashed again by Tomomi Morita, who finished the two-lap sprint in a swift 54.40. Surfacing after almost 15 meters underwater at the start, Morita was already ahead of the pack. Turning at the halfway mark in 26.45 seconds, he kept up a smooth, crisp tempo until he jammed the wall with the new record.

In a very tight battle for the second spot, Atsushi Nishikori got the nod with his 55.31 ahead of Junichi Miyashita (55.46), Masafumi Yamaguchi (55.49) and Mizuki Wakabayashi (55.50).

The final event of the evening — and the one all of Japan was waiting for — was the men's 100m breaststroke. So huge was the public interest in world record-holder Kosuke Kitajima, that the national broadcasting network, NHK, televised the race live during its premier 7 o’clock evening news.

Kitajima obliged by winning in 1:00.39. Trying to erase yesterday's 1:00.99 in the semis, Kitajima split 28.25 seconds for the first 50 meter. But the effort cost him and he faded in the final 10 meters, gradually losing his usual sharpness.

Observing Kitajima from 15 minutes before the race in the Ready Room, this writer found him sitting quietly. He was almost too quiet, not showing any of the “beast-ness” or wildness that his coach, Hirai, expected after yesterday’s race. Seemingly, he just was not pumped for the race.

It took him a second to answer the first question put to him after the race about how he felt about his swim. "Well," he said, "it was a pity that I could not go under 60 seconds. But, I feel kind of relieved as I got my ticket to Athens. That changes my motivation toward the 200 meter breaststroke."

Makoto Yamashita was second in 1:01.74, bettering the IOC qualifying standard.

In the semifinals today, Reiko Nakamura goes into the women's 100m backstroke final seeded #1 with a 1:01.33, but the race should be close as five women swam 1:01s.

Twenty-one year-old Yoshihiro Okumura led the field in the men's 200 meter freestyle semis by almost a second, as his 1:49.38 was only 15-hundredths off the national record. Tomoko Nagai heads up the women's 200 free finalists with her 2:00.81 in tonight's semis.

Favorite Masami Tanaka qualifid first in the women's 100 meter breaststroke in 1:09.05. Seventeen year-old Sayaka Nakamura set a national high school record in qualifying second in 1:09.42 as two other women cracked 1:10. Tanaka, who holds the national record at 1:07.27, is the decided favorite for the final, but she faded noticeably in the final 25 meters tonight and may be vulnerable.

RESULTS

FINALS

Womens 100m Butterfly FINAL (Japan record: 58.79)
1 Junko Onishi 1974/10/18 27.47 58.62 JAPAN RECORD
2 Yuko Nakanishi 1981/04/24 28.16 59.46
3 Yurie Yano 1988/06/24 28.23 59.97
4 Ayako Doi 1980/06/29 28.50 1:00.07
5 Kozue Watanabe 1986/04/10 28.22 1:00.23
6 Maki Mita 1983/04/22 28.63 1:00.84
7 Yukiko Osada 1981/05/14 29.08 1:01.23
8 Saori Haruguchi 1987/01/20 28.21 1:01.75

Men 100m Backstroke FINAL (Japan record: 54.54)
1 Tomomi Morita 1984/08/22 26.45 54.40 JAPAN RECORD
2 Atsushi Nishikori 1978/05/22 26.79 55.31
3 Junichi Miyashita 1983/10/17 26.83 55.46
4 Masafumi Yamaguchi 1984/12/07 26.68 55.49
5 Mizuki Wakabayashi 1981/06/22 26.81 55.50
6 Junya Koga 1987/07/19 27.48 55.92
7 Shohei Uchida 1987/01/09 27.43 55.97
8 Toshifumi Takeuchi 1983/05/09 27.36 56.07

Men 100m Breaststroke FINAL (Japan record: 59.78)
1 Kosuke Kitajima 1982/09/22 28.25 1:00.39
2 Makoto Yamashita 1983/05/27 29.05 1:01.74
3 Genki Imamura 1982/03/17 29.31 1:01.98
4 Yoshihisa Yamaguchi 1982/06/27 29.06 1:02.25
5 Mitsuhiro Yoshida 1982/11/22 29.35 1:02.81
6 Yohei Nakagawa 1984/07/05 29.77 1:02.82
7 Takehiko Mizuta 1983/07/27 29.32 1:03.01
8 Shigenori Sato 1979/11/15 30.08 1:03.14

SEMIFINALS

Womens 100m backstroke (Japan record:1:00.55) Semi-Final Top 8 swimmers
1 Reiko Nakamura 1982/05/17 29.54 1:01.33
2 Hanae Itoh 1985/01/18 29.88 1:01.51
3 Mai Nakamura 1979/07/16 29.57 1:01.68
4 Aya Terakawa 1984/11/12 29.82 1:01.90
5 Noriko Inada 1978/07/27 30.11 1:01.97
6 Masaki Oikawa 1984/03/29 29.93 1:02.27
7 Yoshiko Saito 1983/04/30 30.75 1:02.90
8 Nozomi Nobe 1982/07/04 30.60 1:02.98

Mens 200m Freestyle Semi-Final Top 8 swimmers (Japan record:1:49.23)
1 Yoshihiro Okumura 1983/05/09 1:49.38
25.74 53.73 1:21.56
2 Shunichi Fujita 1982/05/27 1:50.29
25.85 54.03 1:22.26
3 Daisuke Hosokawa 1982/04/18 1:50.50
25.47 53.56 1:22.02
4 Yuji Sakurai 1984/09/13 1:50.80
25.94 53.86 1:22.59
5 Hisato Matsumoto 1984/10/05 1:50.86
26.37 54.14 1:22.57
6 Sho Uchida 1987/09/28 1:51.00
26.48 54.67 1:22.49
7 Naoya Sonoda 1982/12/31 1:51.08
26.70 55.36 1:23.90
8 Takamitsu Kojima 1981/05/25 1:51.36
26.06 54.31 1:23.35

Womens 100m breaststroke Semi-Final (Japan record:1:07.27)
1 Masami Tanaka 1979/01/05 32.48 1:09.05
2 Sayaka Nakamura 1987/10/24 33.29 1:09.42 Nat. High school record
3 Kahori Sato 1981/11/29 33.02 1:09.70
4 Yoshimi Miwa 1985/01/09 32.94 1:09.79
5 Yuko Sakaguchi 1979/02/20 34.08 1:10.56
6 Ryoko Maruyama 1982/10/23 33.07 1:10.65
7 Manami Hotta 1989/01/17 33.60 1:10.74
8 Ayumi Shirota 1982/09/25 33.90 1:10.98

Womens 200m Freestyle Semi-Final (Japan record:1:58.78)
1 Tomoko Nagai 1981/05/10 2:00.81
27.78 58.11 1:29.08
2 Norie Urabe 1986/12/02 2:01.49
28.03 58.77 1:30.07
3 Haruka Ueda 1988/04/27 2:02.93
28.79 59.27 1:31.19
4 Kei Aoki 1987/09/03 2:03.69
28.49 59.09 1:30.93
5 Madoka Ochi 1985/03/24 2:04.10
29.85 1:01.45 1:33.02
6 Yukimi Hasegawa 1985/05/05 2:04.14
29.42 1:00.88 1:32.74
7 Akina Okura 1984/06/07 2:04.79
29.65 1:01.30 1:33.23
8 Yuen Kobayashi 1986/05/16 2:05.00
30.05 1:01.92 1:33.84

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Author: Archive Team

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