TOKYO, Japan, February 4. EVEN though Kosuke Kitajima didn't win an individual medal at the London 2012 Olympics, he's not quite ready to hang up his cap and goggles. As reported by the Japan Times, the four time individual Olympic champion is planning on swimming another season … at least.
“I want to enjoy swimming this year. I want to keep swimming until I've had absolutely enough,” Kitajima told the Japan Times.
Kitajima has reunited with former coach Norimasa Hirai, head coach of the Japan National Team. Hirai coached Kitajima to his remarkable back-to-back Olympic gold medals in the 100 and 200 breaststroke at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. At the London Olympics, Japan won 11 of its 38 overall medals in swimming competitions.
“I always felt that I wanted to train with coach Hirai again before I called it a career. I want to enjoy each and every workout I have with him.”
Prior to the 2012 Olympics, Kitajima trained at the University of Southern California under renowned US coach Dave Salo. Kitajima earned a silver medal as part of the 4×100 medley relay at the 2012 Olympics.
“From here on, I have to approach each and every season like it's my last. I hope I can have a really fulfilling year.”
Kitajima is reportedly planning to compete in the 50 and 100 breaststroke at the Japanese National Championships in April. The meet doubles as a qualifier for the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona.
Though Kitajima appears to be sidestepping the 200 breaststroke, he will have a formidable domestic opponent in Akihiro Yamaguchi, the 18-year-old who broke the world record in the 200 breast last year. Yamaguchi is certainly capable of a 59-second 100 breast, having posted a 59.85 last summer at the junior Pan Pacific championships. Yamaguchi trains as well with Hirai in Tokyo.