Day four of the Japanese Nationals continued with multiple women earning themselves tickets to Rio.
The men’s 100-meter free semi-finals kicked off the final session of day four with the top two athletes posting times underneath the 49-second mark. Katsumi Nakamura topped the competition with a time of 48.53, finishing a shy .12 seconds off his own japanese National Record of 48.41.
Shinri Shioura, who entered semi’s as the second-place seed, maintained his spot with a time of 48.73, while Kenji Kobase grabbed third with a 49.31. It’s important to note that this is the second event of the meet so far where the Japanese Olympic qualifying standard (48.16) is faster than the Japanese National Record (48.41).
Miki Uchida continued to improve upon her top spot in the women’s 100-meter free with a 54.20 in the semi-finals. Uchida’s time moves her to fifteenth in the world rankings for 2016.
Rikako Ikee, the National Record holder in this event, moved up from sixth to second stopping the clock at 54.50. Earlier this season Ikee turned in a 53.99 which sits her at eleventh in the world rankings for 2016. Yayoi Matsumoto was third with a time of 54.72.
The men’s 200-meter fly continued to be a swift event with Daiya Seto, the 400-meter IM reigning World Champion, clocking a 1:55.00 to move up to first in semi’s. Seto’s time sits under the Japanese Olympic Standard of 1:55.39 but Seto will need to replicate that performance in finals to swim the event in Rio.
Masato Sakai, the leader in the 200 fly after prelims, added ever-so-slightly to his prelims time of 1:55.37, stopping the clock at 1:55.40. Sakai, who owns the top time in the world rankings, will need to turn up the heat during tomorrow’s finals to slide under the Olympic standard and earn an Olympic berth.
Takeshi Matsuda, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist in the 200 fly and National Record holder in the event, moved to fourth in the semi’s with a time of 1:57.30.
Ippei Watanabe, who posted a 2:08.83 in prelims of the men’s 200-meter breaststroke, continued to sit under the Japanese Olympic qualifying standard with a time of 2:09.46 in semi-finals. Yasuhiro Koseki posted the second fastest time in the event with a time of 2:09.98, while Kosuke Kitajima grabbed third with a 2:10.16.
None of the athletes in the women’s 100-meter backstroke finals qualified for Rio. Natsumi Sakai won gold with a 1:00.12 but fell short of the Japanese Olympic standard of 59.85. Miyuki Takemura (1:00.18) and Emi Mornuki (1:00.37) finished second and third respectively.
Natsumi Hoshi, the Japanese National record holder in the women’s 200-meter fly, dashed to gold with a time of 2:06.32. Hoshi’s time rockets her to the top of the world rankings, inching ahead of Spain’s Mireia Belmonte’s 2:06.34 and earned her a ticket to Rio. Joining her in Rio is Suzuka Hasegawa who not only finished second in the event, but finished under the qualifying time with a 2:06.92.
The women’s 200-meter IM saw a major shake-up as Miho Teramura blasted past her semi-finals time of 2:!2.02 to win gold and a ticket to Rio with a 2:09.87. Teramura’s time moves her up to second in the world rankings behind Katinka Hosszu (2:07.69).
Runa Imai and Kanako Watanabe dueled for second in Teramura’s wake, both finishing under the Japanese Olympic standard of 2:11.03. Imai edged Watanabe to finish second with a 2:10.76 over Watanabe’s 2:10.93, earning herself a ticket to Rio.