Amazing Double From Kosuke Hagino Includes Asian, Japanese Marks

TOKYO, Japan, April 12. IT’s been like a walk in the park for Kosuke Hagino here at the Japanese Nationals in Tokyo as the multi-eventer had one of the best nights of his career this evening.

Hagino claimed his third title of the meet, and second Japanese standard, as he charted a scorching 3:43.90 to become the first man from Japan under the 3:44 barrier. That performance cut nearly a second off his national mark of 3:44.82 set at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona last summer, and vaulted him to second in the SwimVortex world rankings. Only David McKeon (3:43.72) has been faster, while Tae Hwan Park is third with a 3:43.96.

Kohei Yamamoto checked in with a second-place time of 3:49.48 in the middle-distance event, while Yohei Takiguchi took home third in the finale with a 3:51.01.

Hagino picked up an amazing double when he closed the night with his third national record and fourth crown of the Japanese Nationals here in Tokyo. Not only did Hagino’s 1:55.38 in the men’s 200-meter IM beat his own Japanese mark of 1:55.74 from a year ago, that time had also stood as the Asian record.

Hiromasa Fujimori snatched second-place overall in the IM with a 1:57.77 to move to third in the world rankings, while Daiya Seto took third in 1:57.92 for fifth in the world.

Natsumi Hoshi followed up with a dominant swim in the women’s 200-meter fly. She dropped a 2:05.98 to win the finale, becoming the first swimmer this year to clear 2:06 as she bettered the 2:06.33 posted by Mireia Belmonte Garcia at the Spanish National Championships this week for the top spot in the world. Hoshi had to put up that time by her lonesome as Haruno Ito finished nearly four full seconds back with a 2:09.88 for second. Yai Watanabe snared third in 2:10.19.

Daiya Seto nearly cleared his second-ranked season best in the men’s 200-meter fly with a 1:54.84 for the victory. That swim just missed his 1:54.82 from the Australian Aquatic Super Series with only Chad Le Clos being faster this year with a 1:54.56 from South African Nationals. Kenta Hirai touched second in 1:55.27 to hold third in the rankings, while Masato Sakai picked up third in 1:56.26 to move to fifth in the world.

The men’s 200-meter fly final proved to be deep with some speedy swims as Kou Fukaya’s fourth-place time of 1:56.35 and Takeshi Matsuda’s fifth-place 1:56.94 all rank in the top 10 in the world this year.

Junya Koga held off Ryosuke Irie in a sizzling men’s 50-meter backstroke finale as Koga took the title, 24.68 to 24.86. The two pushed the sub-25 club this year from three to five as only Camille Lacourt (24.37), Ben Treffers (24.54) and Jeremy Stravius (24.80) have also cleared the 25-second mark. Takeshi Kawamoto claimed third overall tonight in 25.50.

Asami Chida topped the women’s 800-meter freestyle finale with a time of 8:36.92, while Chihiro Igarashi claimed second in the distance event with an 8:40.13. Mine Watanabe snared third overall in 8:43.39. On the other end of the freestyle spectrum, Miki Uchida put up a 54.78 to win the women’s 100-meter freestyle finale. Yayoi Matsumoto took home second in 55.23, while Misaki Yamaguchi snared third in 55.61.

Miyuki Takemura clipped Noriko Inada at the wall in the women’s 50-meter back, 28.32 to 28.42. Both times are just outside the top 10 in the world. Emi Moronuki snared third with a 28.57. Kanako Watanabe chased down the women’s 200-meter IM title in 2:11.04 with Miho Teramura finishing second in 2:11.62. Sakiko Shimizu snagged third in 2:12.87.