TOKYO, Japan, April 10. KOSUKE Hagino turned in some fireworks in the men’s 400-meter IM to start the Japanese Swimming National Championships tonight off right.
Hagino crushed the field in the men’s 400-meter IM finale as he scared his Asian record of 4:07.61 in the event. Hagino threw down a scorching time of 4:07.88 to win tonight, two seconds ahead of his previously top-ranked time of 4:09.82 from the Australian Aquatic Super Series in Perth. Hagino has a full slate this week with multiple events to potentially make on the Pan Pacific Championship roster for Japan.
Meanwhile, Daiya Seto placed second in 4:12.30 to better his third-ranked season best of 4:13.60 also from Perth, while Takeharu Fujimori wound up third in 4:13.80 to grab fourth in the world rankings in one of the fastest 400 IM heats in the world this year. All three times in the 400 IM were well under Japan’s Pan Pacs qualifying standard.
Chihiro Igarashi and Asami Chida kicked off the evening with a battle in the women’s 400-meter freestyle. Igarashi had enough in the tank to keep Chida from closing the distance en route to a 4:11.19 to 4:11.48 triumph in the middle distance event. Both swimmers cleared Japan’s selection time to make the Pan Pacific Championship squad. Yuna Kikuchi rounded out the top three in 4:13.41.
The women’s 50-meter fly produced another close contest as Tomoyo Fukuda clipped Miki Uchida by the slimmest of margins, 26.74 to 26.75, in the sprint fly. Misato Yamazaki clinched third with a time of 26.93 as the top three all broke 27 seconds. All three swimmers beat Japan’s Pan Pacs qualifying time.
The close calls kept on coming in the men’s 50-meter fly as Hirofumi Ikebata and Kohei Kawamoto raced their way to a tie in the sprint fly with matching 23.67s. The times tie the duo with Ben Proud for eighth in the world rankings. Masayuki Kishida chased down third overall in 23.76 as the top three all cleared Japan’s Pan Pacs selection cut.
Shinri Shioura took a run at the Japanese record in the men’s 100-meter free, but wound up just a bit short with a 48.69 for the win. That swim vaulted him to sixth in the world rankings, while Ranmaru Harada took second in 49.19. Katsumi Nakamura (49.25) and Takuro Fujii (49.38) snared third and fourth. All four top swimmers made the Pan Pacific cut.
Another near national record went up on the board in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke as Kanako Watanabe clocked a 1:06.53 for the win tonight. That effort beat her prelim time of 1:06.96 as the second-best in the world this year behind Rikke Moller Pedersen’s 1:06.19 from the Danish Open. Satomi Suzuki (1:07.08) and Rie Kaneto (1:07.23) raced to second and third. All three beat the Pan Pacs mark.
Yasuhiro Koseki closed out the night with a 1:00.07 to win the men’s 100-meter breaststroke. That’s sixth in the world rankings this year. Ryo Tateishi and Hiromasa Sakimoto posted matching 1:00.51s for second-place honors. Kosuke Kitajima earned seventh overall in 1:00.67. Koseki was the only swimmer to beat the Pan Pacs cut in the event.