Ippei Watanabe Hits Smooth 2:09 200 Breast in Japan

Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA

Former 200 breaststroke world record holder Ippei Watanabe raced in Saitama this weekend, putting up a 2:09.89 in the 200 breaststroke. The time was not far off his season best of 2:08.40, which he swam in January at the FINA Champions Series in China. Watanabe won the last two bronze medals in the 200 breast at the 2017 & 2019 Worlds, as he was a part of the fastest fields ever assembled last year.

Ippei Watanabe is a medal favorite for next year’s Olympic Games as the former world record holder and first man to break 2:07 will be a home crowd favorite to take Japan’s seventh Olympic gold in the 200 breast.

Other notable swimmers competing at the meet were Olympic medalists Daiya SetoNaito Ehara and Masato Sakai. Ehara won the 200 free at 1:48.96 ahead of Seto at 1:49.43 as both will vie for spots on the 4×200 free relay team next year.

Sakai finished second in the 200 butterfly at 2:01.18, well behind 2017 World University Games gold medalist Nao Horomura (1:56.93). Sakai had been fifth in the world rankings in 2020 with his 1:56 in January as he is the reigning Olympic silver medalist in the 200 fly.

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競泳・埼玉屋外AG大会のOPで200m自由形と200m平泳ぎに出場させていただきました。 . 埼玉県水泳連盟をはじめ、大会関係者の皆様に心から感謝いたします。 . ありがとうございました。 . 大会に参加されていたジュニアスイマーからエネルギーをもらいました! . みんな一生懸命で輝いていました! . ジュニアスイマーの目標になれるように、もっとがんばろうと思います。 . きっとみんな、久しぶりのレースでクタクタだろうね。 . 今日は、僕もクタクタです。 . #Toyota @toyota_jp #mizuno @mizunojp #waseda @tokyo2020 @tobiuo_japan #ldhsports @ldh_japan_official

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