Three More National Records Fall on Final Day of Japanese Trials

By Hideki Mochizuki

YOKOHAMA, April 22. WITH three international meets on the line (World Championships in Fukuoka,
East Asian Games from May 21-26 in Osaka and World University Games in Beijing), the 77th Japanese National Swimming Championships ended today with
another three national record falling but with mixed cocerns and expectations among coaches and the swimming media.

In four days of competition using the prelims/finals format, there were only a handful new faces that were able to break through to become potential finalists or medalists at the World Championships in Fukuoka.

On the other hand, several of those newcomers who are not well known yet on the world scene, show promise to achieve international prominence. One of these is the women's 200m backstroke winner, Reiko Nakamura.
Although she finished in sixth in today's 50m back sprint in 29.61, yesterday's 200m back triumph in 2:11.53 was impressive enough to set her up to be the
successor to Miki Nakao, bronze medalist in that event in Sydney, who passed on the World Championships to take a rest.

The 18 year-old Nakamura (no relation to Mai Nakamura), who graduated from high school last month, has always swum in the shadow of Japan's impressive backstroke trio of Mai Nakamura, Miki Nakao and Tomoko Hagiwara.

Although she has participated in the National Junior Team trip to Santa Clara, California in 1997 and
2000, her recent win at the World Cup meet in Paris in 2:09.48 (short course meters) was really an international debut for her. Having undergone high altitude training in Flagstaff, Arizona, from March 14 to April 8, the 5'5-1/2", 117-pound Nakamura has become noted for her endurance and come-from-behind race strategy.

That strategy played out perfectly in her winning 200 meter splits yesterday: 31.20-1:04.63-1:38.86-2:11.53. That time would have put her fifth at the Sydney Games and makes her Japan's fourth fastest performer ever in the event. Many observers see Nakamura as one of Japan's top medal hopefuls in Fukuoka.

Three national records were broken on the final day of competition, all of them by Japan's much-improved male swimmers. Jiro Miki set a Japanese record in winning the 200m IM in 2:01.75, just out-touching Takahiro Mori in 2:01.91.

Shunichi Fujita disposed of veteran Masato Hirano by almost six seconds to win the 400m free in a national record 3:50.66.

Finally, Tomomi Morita jammed the pads in 26.03 to set a national standard in the 50m back, just out-stretching Mizuki wakabayashi (26.10) and Atsushi Nishikori (26.13).

On the women's side, Mai Nakamura, who won the women's 100m back in a world-leading 1:01.28, added the 50 meters yesterday, touching in 29.05.

Sachiko Yamada had no trouble notching her second victory of the Trials, winning the 400m free in 4:12.61, almost three seconds ahead of Eri Yamanoi.

Junko Isoda finally won a big one, leading three women under 2:30 in the 200m breast. Isoda's 2:27.12 was more than two seconds faster than Yuko Sakaguchi's 2;29.14.

Finally, Tomoko Hagiwara won the 200m IM handily, also out-distancing her nearest pursuer, flyer Maki Mita, by over two seconds, 2:16.71 to 2:18.77.

On the men's side, 18 year-old Kosuke Kitajima completed his sweep of the breaststroke events, winning the 200 meters in 2:13.53, just off the national record. Earlier, the high school senior set Japanese records in both the 50 (28.05) and 100 (1:01.26). Yoshi Okita was a strong second in 2:14.50.

Japan will announce the team rosters for the World Championships and the East Asian Games tomorrow. (China has announced a large contingent consisting of 410 athletes and officials from a variety of sports for the East Asian Games).

The Japanese federation will also announce its team for the World University Games and its National Junior Team (junior high and high school students), which will swim this year in the Mare Nostrum circuit in Europe (Barcelona: June 1-3, Canet: June 5-7, Rome: June 9-10, Monte Carlo: June 12-13). In the past, the junior team has competed at the Santa Clara International.


Women 50m Back Final
1. Mai Nakamura 29.05
2. Hanae Ito 29.12
3. Chihiro Ikeda 29.41
4. Ai Fukushima 29.44
5. Aya Terakawa 29.48
6. Reiko Nakamura 29.61
7. Runa Kobayashi 29.94
8. Masaki Oikawa 30.54

Men 50m Back Final
1. Tomomi Morita 26.03 National Record
2. Mizuki Wakabayashi 26.10
3. Atsushi Nishikori 26.13
4. Koichi Watanabe 26.26
5. Takafumi Oishi 26.35
6. Yosuke Ueda 26.42
7. Ryutaro Hayashi 26.52
8. Yuji Kinugasa 27.36

Women 400m FR Final
1. Sachiko Yamada 4:12.36
2. Eri Yamanoi 4:15.21
3. Yumi Kida 4:18.04
4. Madoka Ochi 4:18.45
5. Shigemi Yamaguchi 4:19.27
6. Norie Urabe 4:19.75
7. Reina Iwata 4:22.74
8. Yukiko Marushima 4:25.18

Men 400m FR Final
1. Shunichi Fujita 3:50.60 National Record
2. Masato Hirano 3:56.44
3. Shusuke Ito 3:56.90
4. Takanori Koike 3:57.01
5. Koji Azuma 3:58.32
6. Yosuke Ichikawa 3:58.34
7. Eiji Katayama 4:01.08
8. Naoya Sonoda 4:03.15

Women 200m Breast Final
1. Junko Isoda 2:27.12
2. Yuko Sakaguchi 2:29.14
3. Ayaka Shimada 2:29.76
4. Fumiko Kawanabe 2:31.26
5. Nanaka Tamura 2:31.46
6. Aya Washio 2:31.90
7. Ayumi Shirata 2:32.43
8. Eriko Furukawa 2:34.61

Men 200m Breast Final
1. Kosuke Kitajima 2:13.53
2. Yoshiaki Okita 2:14.50
3. Taiki Kawagoe 2:15.15
4. Akira Hayashi 2:15.88
5. Kyosuke Yonehara 2:16.69
6. Daisuke Kimura 2:17.24
7. Taichi Tanabe 2:17.88
8. Yuki Sato 2:20.48

Women 200m IM Final
1. Tomoko Hagiwara 2:16.71
2. Maki Mita 2:18.77
3. Yukako Akagi 2:19.87
4. Chiemi Shigeta 2:20.30
5. Ayane Sato 2:20.30
6. Tsukushi Irita 2:20.83
7. Yuka Katayama 2:21.90
8. Megumi Inoue 2:22.27

Men 200m IM Final
1. Jiro Miki 2:01.75 National Record
2. Takahiro Mori 2:01.91
3. Keita Kondo 2:04.31
4. Jun Yoshii 2:04.85
5. Toshifumi Takeuchi 2:05.31
6. Daisuke Tachibana 2:06.02
7. Yuji Kinugasa 2:06.29
8. Susumu Tabuchi 2:06.85

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