Day six finals of the 2016 Japanese Nationals was highlighted by new National Records set by Rie Kaneto and Kosuke Hagino.
Shinri Shioura, 2015’s 50 Free winner at the Japanese Nationals, moved to the top of the leaderboard in semi-finals of the men’s 50-meter free with a time of 22.25. Finishing close behind was Katsumi Nakamura who stopped the clock at a 22.69. Junya Koga of Club Wolverine slid to third with a 22.50, still an improvement upon his prelims time of 22.53. All three will need to turn up the heat in tomorrow’s finals if they wish to clear the Japanese Olympic qualifying standard of 21.87.
The women’s semi-finals of the 50-meter free saw a change in the leaderboard with Miki Uchida, the 100-meter free champion, moving to first with a 25.20. Not to be left behind was the young Rikako Ikee who delivered a close 25.30 to remain at second. A tie for third between Yayoi Matsumoto and Sayuki Ouchi rounded out the top qualifiers as both athletes turned in times of 25.68 from the same heat.
Takurou Fujii maintained his spot atop the leaderboard in the men’s 100-meter fly semi-finals with a final time of 52.22, placing him just over half a second away from the Japanese Olympic qualifying standard of 51.64. Takeshi Kawamoto posted the second fastest time of the morning at a 52.59, while Masayuki Umemoto grabbed third with a 52.73.
The women’s 200-meter back semi-finals picked up speed with the top qualifier stopping just shy of breaking through the 2:10-barrier. Natsumi Sakai stopped the clock at a 2:10.00 to take over the first-place seed, while Yuka Kawayoke, the leader after prelims, finished second with a 2:10.48. Mayuko Gotou was third with a 2:!0.53.
An uneventful women’s 800-meter free began the final showings of the night with none of the athletes qualifying for Rio. Minho Takahashi won gold in the event with a time of 8:36.84, shaving time off from her prelims swim of 8:41.85. Asami Chida (8:37.08) and Asari Wada (:39.08) rounded out the top three.
The men’s 200-meter back saw the top three swimmers all posting final times under the Japanese Olympic qualifying standard of 1:56.79, however only the top two will move on to Rio. Ryosuke Irie continued to swim ahead of the competition in the 200 back before turning in a final time of 1:56.30 to win gold and qualify for Rio. Finishing close behind was Masaki Kaneko with a time of 1:56.52, while Keita Sunama posted a third place finish of 1:56.76.
Building upon her spot at the top of the leaderboard was Rie Kaneto in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke. Kaneto dashed ahead of the field to finish in National Record time of 2:19.65, thereby also lowering her world best time of 2:20.04 for 2016. Not only did Kaneto swim under the Japanese Olympic qualifying standard of 2:23.21, but she also demonstrated that she could scare the World Record of 2:19.11 come Rio.
Grabbing second but just missing a Rio qualification was Kanako Watanabe with a time of 2:23.54, while Runa Imai turned in a time of 2:24.29 for third.
As if his 1:55.98 swim from semi-finals wasn’t impressive enough, Kosuke Hagino decided to light up the pool in finals of the 200-meter IM with a sizzling 1:55.07 to rocket him to the top of the world rankings for 2016. Hagino’s time also broke the existing National Record of 1:55.33 qualifying Hagino for Rio.
Joining Hagino in Rio will be the silver medalist for the 200 IM, Hiromasa Fujimori. H. Fujimori dove underneath the qualifying standard of 1:58.02 to stop the clock at a 1:57.57 ahead of Daiya Seto’s 1:58.30 and Takeharu Fujimori’s 1:59.12.