Aya Terakawa, Kanako Watanabe Break Short Course Japanese Swimming Records

TOKYO, Japan, February 25. OLYMPIC medalist Aya Terakawa and rising teenager Kanako Watanbe are getting off to a fast start in 2013, breaking their own short course meters national records at the Japanese nationals.

Terakawa swam a 26.05 in the sprint event to shave .08 off her record, which she had previously set in 2009 at the Stockholm stop of the FINA World Cup. This was Terakawa's first official meet since the 2012 Olympics, where she won two bronze medals in the 100 back and 400 medley relay.

Terakawa, 28, still has a way to go to reach Sanja Jovanovich's world record of 25.70, set last December at the short course world championships. Terakawa also put Shiho Sakai's world record of 55.23 in the 100 back with a 55.76.

Watanabe, just 17 years old, swam a 59.34 in the 100 IM to lower her own national record, which was a 59.74 from a prelim swim at the December short course world championships. Watanabe placed 10th overall in Istanbul in the event.

Other top swims at the Japanese nationals include:

Ayatsugu Hirai's 14:38.13 in the men's 1500 freestyle, a time that would have placed fourth at last December's world championships;

A 1:50.15 in the men's 200 backstroke by Yuki Shirai, which would have placed fourth at the short course worlds ahead of Japan's Kosuke Hagino, who swam a 1:51.00;

A close shave in the men's 50 breaststroke, won by Yuki Okajima with a 26.67, just shy of Ryo Tateishi's national record of 26.66;

Another record chase in the men's 100 IM, won by Takuro Fujii with a 52.46, just a tenth off his own national record from 2010;

A 4:03.79 in the men's 400 IM by Daiya Seto, who posted a time that would have challenged for third at worlds;

A 56.52 in the women's 100 fly by Olympic relay bronze medalist Yuka Kato, challenging her own national record of 56.48;

A 2:03.60 from 200 fly Olympic bronze medalist Natsumi Hoshi, just .48 off Yuko Nakanishi's national record of 2:06.12 from 2008.