The 2016 Japanese Nationals concluded with events both long and short. Rikako Ikee highlighted the final session by adding another event to her schedule in Rio, bringing the total up to seven.
Kouhei Yamamoto led off the final session of the Japanese Nationals with a quick 14:57.12 in the men’s 1500-meter free. Yamamoto’s time sits not only a few seconds off the Japanese National record of 14:54.80. Posting second was Ayatsugu Hirai with a time of 15:02.25, while bronze went to Atsuya Yoshida (15:10.41).
The men’s 50-meter free was led by Katsumi Nakamura who stopped the clock at a 22.09. Shinri Shioura finished second overall with a time of 22.14, while Kento Ito took third with a 22.40. While all dropped time from the earlier sessions, none of them were able to edge beneath the Japanese Olympic qualifying standard of 21.87.
15-year-old Rikako Ikee continued her success into the final session, adding a win in the women’s 50-meter free. Ikee finished in record-breaking fashion with a 24.76, a new World Junior record. With this win Ikee will have seven events that she will be partaking in in Rio. Watch for the young star in the 50, 100, and 200 Free, 100 Fly, and all three relays.
Miki Uchida, the gold medalist in the women’s 100-meter free, finished second overall with a 25.19. A battle ford third left Yayoi Matsumoto out-touching Aya Satou 25.53 to 25.55.
Takurou Fujii claimed gold in the men’s 100-meter fly with a time of 52.03. Grabbing second was Takeshi Kawamoto with a time of 52.36, just ahead of Takaya Yasue’s 52.43. The 52’s continued through eighth place.
The meet ended with 14-year-old Natsumi Sakai grabbing the gold in the women’s 200-meter back. Sakai led the field throughout the entire race finishing first with a 2:10.43. Yuki Kawayoke garnered speed in the back-half of the race to close the gap between her and Sakai to finish second with a final time of 2:10.71. Taking third was Mayuko Gotou with a 2:10.91, the only other athlete under the 2:11-mark.