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Morita Upsets Nishikori to Take Men's 100m Back; Mai Nakamura, Kitajima Both Win on Day 4 of Japanese Nationals -- April 28, 2003

By Hideki Mochizuki, Takahisa Ide and Josh Jeffrey

TOKYO, April 26. ACTION at the Japanese National Championships continued today with an upset in the men's 100 meter backstroke, another outstanding swim in the men's breaststsroke and the welcome return of two Japanese greats.

After breaking a long-standing national record in the 100 meter backstroke last night and becoming the first Japanese man to swim under 55 seconds in the event, it looked as though Atsushi Nishikori had a lock on the title. But no one told that to Tomomi Morita, who blasted past Nishikori to take the win in 54.97 to Nishikori's 55.07.

Any other day but today, Morita's time would have been a national record, but he can take solace in the knowledge that he not only has the national title, but also is only the second Japanese man under the 55 second barrier.

Mai Nakamura showed that even after a half-year hiatus, she's still got it. The 2000 Olympic silver medalist took her 8th national title, winning the 100 back in 1:01.39. Another Nakamura, Reiko, took second in 1:01.68. Noriko Inada, last night's top qualifier,took third in 1:01.74. In all, it was a very fast field, as a total of five swimmers were under 1:02.

Masami Tanaka took an easy win in the women's 200 meter breaststroke, icing another National title with her time of 2:26.80, about half a second slower than yesterday's semifinal. Second place went to Fumiko Kawanabe at 2:28.73, with Megumi Taneda in 2:31.15 for third.

Kosuke Kitajima had his eye on a world record-breaking performance tonight, and after a new national record in the 50 on night one, it looked entirely likely that he'd be able to take his 200 breaststroke mark even further out of reach for Moses, Hansen, and Piper. Alas, on this night, it was not to be as he touched in 2:10.59 for an easy win, duplicating his time from semifinals to the hundredth.

Junko Onishi, top qualifier in the women's 50 fly, took an easy win in 27.42 over Yuko Nakanishi (27.80), and Ayako Doi (27.90). Top qualifier in the men's event, Ryo Takayasu also won in his 50 fly final, 24.39 to 200 fly specialist Takashi Yakamoto's 24.44. Kohei Kawamoto was third in 24.62.

The women's 200 freestyle was won by Tomoko Nagai in 2:00.97 over Norie Urabe's second place time of 2:01.28. Mai Aoyagi was further back in third at 2:02.45. With the absence of Tomoko Hagiwara, and the retirement of Suzu Chiba, Japan really needs a sprinter to step up for their relays to be a factor in Barcelona.

The men's 200 was won by Yoshihiro Okumura in 1:49.77, the only time under 1:50. Second place went to Daisuke Hosokawa (1:50.44) with third going to Tomohiro Okuno (1:50.84).

RESULTS

DAY 4

Women 200m Freestyle Final
Rank Name time
1 Tomoko Nagai 2:00.97
2 Norie Urabe 2:01.28
3 Mai Aoyagi 2:02.45
4 Maki Mita 2:02.77
5 Kei Aoki 2:03.19
6 Akina Okura 2:03.51
7 Kaori Yamada 2:03.77
8 Madoka Ochi 2:04.19

Men 200m Freestyle Final
Rank Name time
1 Yoshihiro Okumura 1:49.77
2 Daisuke Hosokawa 1:50.44
3 Tomohiro Okuno 1:50.84
4 Hideaki Hara 1:51.01
5 Hisato Matsumoto 1:51.27
5 Shunichi Fujita 1:51.27
7 Takamitsu Kojima 1:51.36
8 Gen Ishimura 1:51.57


Women 50m Butterfly Final
Rank Name time
1 Junko Onishi 27.42
2 Yuko Nakanishi 27.80
3 Ayako Doi 27.90
4 Nozomi Nakamura 27.97
5 Kozue Watanabe 27.99
6 Natsumi Mizuochi 28.20
7 Yuka Kato 28.30
8 Yuki Miyatake 28.40

Men 50m Butterfly Final
Rank Name time
1 Ryo Takayasu 24.39
2 Takashi Yamamoto 24.44
3 Kohei Kawamoto 24.62
4 Yasutake Takamatsu 24.83
5 Daisuke Abe 24.85
6 Takahiko Yoshida 24.91
7 Mazumasa Matsushita 25.08
8 Katsuhiko Morita 25.16

Women 200m Breast Final
Rank Name time
1 Masami Tanaka 2:26.80
2 Fumiko Kawanabe 2:28.73
3 Megumi Taneda 2:31.15
4 Yuko Sakaguchi 2:31.28
5 Sayaka Nakamura 2:31.62
6 Mami Kida 2:31.84
7 Atsuko Sakuma 2:32.35
8 Kahori Sato 2:33.39

Men 200m Breast Final
Rank Name time
1 Kosuke Kitajima 2:10.59
2 Taiki Kawagoe 2:13.77
3 Daisuke Kimura 2:14.22
4 Yuuki Sato 2:14.37
5 Genki Imamura 2:16.17
6 Yoshiyuki Abe 2:16.81
7 Chikara Nakashita 2:16.83
8 Shigenori Sato 2:17.88

Women 100m Back Final
Rank Name time
1 Mai Nakamura 1:01.39
2 Reiko Nakamura 1:01.68
3 Noriko Inada 1:01.74
4 Hanae Ito 1:01.86
5 Aya Terakawa 1:01.98
6 Hiro Tanaka 1:03.05
7 Nozomi Nobe 1:03.08
8 Toshie Abe 1:03.74

Men 100m Back Final
Rank Name time
1 Tomomi Morita 54.97
2 Atsushi Nishikori 55.07
3 Junichi Miyashita 55.67
4 Mizuki Wakabayashi 56.36
5 Haruki Takeuchi 56.48
6 Kenta Yamanoi 56.72
7 Toshifumi Takeuchi 56.77
8 Takashi Nakano 56.80