MORE RECORDS FALL ON FINAL DAY OF JAPANESE NATIONALS -- April 24, 2000
TOKYO, April 23. Five more national records, as well as a world record, highlighted the final day of competition at the Japanese National Championships in Tokyo.
Mai Nakamura set a world mark in the women's 50 meter backstroke during prelims, stroking 28.67 seconds for the one-lap sprint. The time was two-hundredths of a second faster than the record posted only 15 days earlier by Nina Zhivanevskaya, a former Soviet swimmer turned Spaniard, at the Spanish Nationals in Madrid. Earlier, Nakamura set a national mark in the 100 meter backstroke at 1:00.78.
Masami Tanaka ended an extraordinary week of swimming by recording her sixth and seventh national records of the meet. The 20-year-old breaststroke ace again lowered her national mark in the 200 meter race, touching in 2:24.12, the second fastest time in history. Her splits: 33.31 - 1:10.33 - 1:47.25 - 2:24.12. That's 1:10.33 going out, 1:13.79 coming back.
Tanaka now own the second and third fastest swims of all time and should contend with South Africa's Penny Heyns for Olympic gold. She also set a national record of 31.75 for the 50 breast.
During the week, Tanaka lowered the national mark three times in the 100 breast, winning in 1:07.27, which makes her the second fastest woman in history. She then repeated her triple record feat in the 200.
Sachiko Yamada clinched her distance double today by winning the 400 meter freestyle in national record time, but unlike in the 800 yesterday, the 17-year-old was pushed all the way. Yamada touched in 4:09.80, erasing the seven-year-old record of 4:10.67 set by Suzu Chiba, who did not swim the event here. Finishing right behind was Yasuko Tajima at 4:10.78. Tajima's versatility was on display all week here. On the first day of competition she set a national record of 4:39.13 in the 400 IM, the world's fastest time this year. Two days later, she finished second in the 200 IM with a personal best 2:16.05. Yesterday she earned a bronze with a personal best 2:10.61 in the 200 fly.
Sumika Minamoto sprinted to a national record clocking of 25.29 in the 50 free, boosting her chances of competing in the Olympic final. Minamoto, who earlier won the 100 free, easily outdistanced Naoko Imoto and Kaori Yamada, who tied for second at 26.06.
Miki Nakao avenged her third-place finish in the 100 backstroke by winning the 200 in a fast 2:10.73, edging Tomoko Hagiwara (2:10.91)and Mai Nakamura (2:11.95).
Syunsuke Ito took the men's 50 meter freestyle in 22.96. He was the only swimmer under 23 seconds, as Tomohiro Yamanoi finished second in 23.02. Ito finaled in every freestyle event from 50 through 400 meters, finishing second in the 100, third in the 200 and seventh in the 400.
Masato Hirano won the 400 in 3:54.51, completing a sweep of the distance events. Earlier he won the 200 and yesterday he took the 1500. Hirano was chased by Takanori Koike, a half second back at 3:55.09.
Takashi Yamamoto had no trouble taking the 100 meter butterfly, winning in 52.97 seconds, well ahead of Ryo Takayasu at 54.24. Two days ago, Yamamoto was pushed all the way before winning the 200 fly (1:57.77).