NIIGATA, Japan, April 14. KOSUKE Hagino has been nearly unstoppable at the Japan Open this week, drawing comparisons to Michael Phelps after running his win total to five Worlds events and two Asian records yesterday. Tonight, backstroke star Ryosuke Irie fought back with a victory in the men's 200-metr backstroke.
Irie put up a smoking time of 1:55.50, while Hagino took second in 1:56.11 in the distance dorsal. Hayate Matubara rounded out the top three in 1:57.81. Irie has been faster this year with a blistering 1:54.72 in Sydney last month, but didn't need that speed to dispatch Hagino in the event.
Meanwhile, Shinri Shioura clipped the Japanese record in the men's 50-meter freestyle with a winning time of 22.03. That swim cut .02 seconds off the previous national record of 22.05 owned by Kenta Ito since last summer. Ito wound up taking second tonight in the splash-and-dash with a 22.21, while Yuki Kawachi snared third in 22.39.
Kohei Yamamoto took home the men's 800-meter freestyle title in a close contest with Ayatsugu Hirai, 7:54.59 to 7:54.84. Fumiya Hidaka touched third in the event with a time of 7:58.29.
Yayoi Matsumoto raced to victory in the women's 50-meter freestyle event with a time of 25.46, while Haruka Ueda placed second in 25.554. Misaki Agou rounded out the top three in 25.59. Sayaka Akase won the women's 200-meter backstroke by more than a second with a 2:09.37. Miyu Otsuka touched second in 2:11.02. Rena Nishiwaki wound up third in 2:12.00.
Natsumi Hoshi led the way in the women's 100-meter fly with a 58.53 for the win, while Yuka Kato also cleared 59 seconds with a second-place effort of 58.98. Nao Kobayashi placed third in 59.42. Takuro Fuji topped the men's 100-meter fly in 52.23. Yuki Kobori (52.38) and Masayuki Umemoto (52.66) finished second and third in the event.
Rie Kaneto picked up the women's 200-meter breaststroke title in 2:23.11, while Satomi Suzuki took second in 2:24.80. Runa Imai, just 13 years old, placed third in a swift time of 2:25.14. World-record holder Akihiro Yamaguchi likely cruised in the men's 200-meter breaststroke with a winning 2:09.31, saving up his best for this summer in Barcelona. Kazuki Kohinata took second in 2:11.27, while Yukihiro Takahasi placed third in 2:11.55.