By Hideki Mochizuki, Swimming World Japanese correspondent
TOKYO, Japan, September 15. THE final day of the Japanese Sports Festival came to an end with one last meet record. Shinri Shioura gave his national record a run in the men’s 50-meter free.
Shioura clocked a 22.13 on the final day of the splash-and-dash, just off his 22.0 national mark. Shioura is a senior at Chuo University, and has emerged as the best freestyle sprinter Japan has to offer. Shioura helped Japan capture bronze in the men’s 400-meter medley relay at the World Championships in Barcelona following the shocking American disqualification. Historically, sprint freestyle has been a serious weakness for Japan.
Tokyo captured the women’s 400-meter medley relay in 4:02.00 with Aya Terakawa clocking a 59.45 100 back relay leadoff for the host city. This was the final swim for Terakawa’s long course season.
“I wanted to start next season with a 100-percent fulfilled mindset, and not in a mediocre state of mind,” Terakawa said.
Several veterans are moving into a transition period as they begin to make plans for the future. Takeshi Matsuda, who finished eighth in the men’s 100-meter free in 50.08, is looking at the potential end of his career.
“I feel compelled to come with better results at the FINA World Cup stop in Tokyo in November,” Matsuda said. “If not, I will need to think if I can continue as an athlete or not. I understand that my sponsors support me only as long as I compete at a global level.”
Matsuda is a 29-year-old two-time Olympic medalist in the 200 butterfly. With he and Kosuke Kitajima as well as Aya Terakawa looking towards the end of their careers, Japan is facing a major transition period to manage a next generation focused on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.