Daiya Seto Victorious in 400 IM at 2017 Japanese Nationals

Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr

The 2017 Japanese Championships kicked off with athletes qualifying for the World Championship team in every event on schedule.

Women’s 400 Free

Chihiro Igarashi turned in the top time of the evening with a 4:08.28, successfully defending her national title in the 400 free. Igarashi qualified for Japan’s World Championship team, swimming well beneath the FINA ‘A’ qualifying time of 4:10.57.

Waka Kobori finished second overall with a time of 4:10.81, followed by Wakaba Tsuyuuchi’s 4:11.77.

Women’s 50 Fly

Rikako Ikee, the reigning world junior and national record holder, flew well beneath the qualifying time of 26.49 in the women’s 50 fly. Ikee clocked a 25.51, just missing her record of 25.50 and making her the only athlete beneath the 26-second mark.

Ai Souma delivered a second place finish of 26.62, followed by Yukina Hihrayama’s 26.80.

Men’s 50 Fly

Junya Hasegawa led a charge of 23-second swims in finals of the men’s 50 fly. Hasegawa took first and the gold medal with a 23.50, sitting just shy of the national record of 23.45.

Syunichi Nakao grabbed a narrow second place finish of 23.64 over Takeshi Kawamoto’s 23.67. All three athletes finished beneath/at the FINA ‘A’ qualifying time of 23.67.

Men’s 400 IM

Fellow Olympians Daiya Seto and Kosuke Hagino delivered an exciting battle in the 400 IM. The two finished a shy .01 seconds apart, with Seto claiming victory with a 4:10.44. His time sits just off his 2017 world best of 4:10.22 from the Indy stop of the arena Pro Swim Series.

Hagino, the 2016 champion in this event, settled for second and a 4:10.45, moving up to third in the world rankings for 2017.

Takeharu Fujimori rounded out the podium with a 4:11.26. All three athletes finished beneath the FINA ‘A’ qualifying time of 4:17.90.

Men’s 100 Free

National-record holder Katsumi Nakamura charged to the top of the podium in the 100 free, delivering a final time of 48.26. His finish sits just off his national record of 47.99 and easily slides beneath the FINA ‘A’ qualifying standard of 48.93. Nakamura made history last summer at the Rio Olympics when he became the first Japanese male swimmer to post a sub-48 second swim.

Shinri Shioura, the short course silver medalist, posted a 48.80 to also qualify for the World Championship team, while Katsuhiri Matsumoto finished third overall with a 49.02.

Women’s 100 Breast

Reona Aoki, one of the top 100 breaststrokers in the world right now, jumped to the top of the podium with a 1:06.77 finish. Aoki’s time puts her well beneath the FINA ‘A’ qualifying standard of 1:07.58 and earns her a World Championship berth for Budapest.

Aoki will be joined on the Worlds team by 2012 Olympic silver medalist Satomi Suzuki, who stopped the clock at a 1:06.91.

Kanako Watanabe was third with a 1:07.09.

Men’s 100 Breast

Yasuhiro Koseki dipped beneath the one-minute mark to easily qualify for the World Championship team, stopping the clock at a 59.26. His swim moves him to third in the world rankings this year, behind Adam Peaty (58.86) and Zibei Yan (58.92).

Ippei Watanabe, the world record holder in the 200 breast, delivered a 1:00.11 to pick up the silver medal and a World Championship berth.

Yoshiki Yamanaka completed the podium with a third place finish of 1:00.46, just outside of the FINA ‘A’ qualifying standard of 1:00.35.