Ippei Watanabe Blasts Quick 200 Breast to Round Out Japan Open

Photo Courtesy: Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports

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Ippei Watanabe, who earlier this year became the first man to crack the 2:07-barrier in the men’s 200 breast, threw down another impressive performance in that event to highlight the final day of competition at the 2017 Japan Open in Tokyo.

Watanabe won the 200 breast in 2:07.77, about a second off his new world record of 2:06.67. But he was dominant in the race, with countrymen Ryuya Mura (2:09.63) and Yasuhiro Koseki (2:09.89) finishing about two seconds behind.

The Olympic gold medalist in the 400 IM continues to look like the World title favorite in the 200 IM as Japan’s Kosuke Hagino won that shorter race in 1:56.30, not far off his world No. 1 time of 1:56.01. Daiya Seto finished second in 1:57.74, and a third Japanese swimmer, Takeharu Fujimori, touched third in 1:58.74.

Japan’s Yui Ohhashi won the women’s 200 IM to open up the session. Currently ranked third in the world at 2:09.96, she posted a 2:10.66 to easily out-pace Great Britain’s Hannah Miley (2:12.06) and Japan’s Runa Imai (2:12.12).

Rikako Ikee picked up her fourth win of the meet in the women’s 100 fly. She is one of only two women to break the 57-second barrier this year, and she won this race in 57.65. Great Britain’s Alys Thomas came in second in 58.37, followed by Japan’s Suzuka Hasegawa (59.45).

Great Britain’s Ben Proud, the top-ranked swimmer in the world in the men’s 50 free, delivered a 21.89 to easily win that event in Tokyo. Meanwhile, Shinri Shioura touched out Katsumi Nakamura for second, 25.18 to 25.19.

Another British swimmer won the men’s 100 fly as James Guy powered his way to a 51.50 that moved him to third in the world in the event. Following Guy into the finish was the Japanese duo of Naoki Mizununa (52.38) and Yuusuke Miyoshi (52.49).

Australian teenager Minna Atherton picked up another win in the women’s 50 back, touching in 27.80 to beat out Great Britain’s Georgia Davies by two tenths. Davies touched in 27.80, and Japan’s Miyuki Takemura came in third at 28.34. Atherton’s time moved her into the world top-ten in the event.

Japan’s Junya Koga dominated the men’s 50 back, finishing on top in 25.04. Junya Hasegawa was second in 25.41, and finishing third in 25.68 was Masaki Kaneko.

Japan’s Reona Aoki won in the women’s 200 breast in 2:24.32, ahead of Great Britain’s Molly Renshaw (2:25.54) and Japan’s Kako Ishida (2:26.23). Sayuki Ouchi took first in the women’s 50 free in 25.17, followed by Chihiro Igarashi (25.38) and Aya Satou (25.48).

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Author: David Rieder

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David Rieder is the host of Swimming World TV and a staff writer for Swimming World. A contributor to the magazine and website since 2009, he has covered the NCAA Championships, U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials as well as the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University.

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