Japan Open: Kanako Watanabe Shines With Sterling Breaststroke Swim

Check the Japan Open Event Landing Page for daily video recaps from Swimming World Japanese correspondent Hideki Mochizuki.

OSAKA, Japan, May 22. THE Japan Open came to a close in Osaka, Japan with quite a few more world-class swims, but youngster Kanako Watanabe put the top swim on the scoreboard. The meet took place in long course meters format.

Watanabe, 14, gave Rebecca Soni her first serious competition in the women's 200 breast with a junior national record of 2:23.90. That swim stands second only to Soni's 2:23.27 from February, and moved ahead of Annamay Pierse's 2:24.10 for runner-up status. Keiko Fukudome finished second in 2:25.39 for 13th in the rankings, while Naoko Fukudome earned third in 2:26.53 for 18th in the rankings.

Aya Terakawa, who already owns the top time in the world this year with a 27.79 in the women's 50 back from April, checked in with a triumphant time of 27.97 tonight in the sprint back. Shiho Sakai touched second in 28.52, just off her 13th-ranked season best of 28.38, while Miyuki Takemura earned third in 28.53 for 14th in the rankings.

Takuro Fuji won the men's 100 fly in 52.18, but came up short of his second-ranked season best of 51.84 from April. Only Michael Phelps has been faster this year with a 51.75. Takeshi Matsuda took second tonight in 52.83 to move to 13th in the rankings, while Hirofumi Ikebata finished third in 52.90 for 17th in the rankings.

Yuma Kosaka jumped up to seventh in the world rankings in the men's 200 IM. He clocked a 1:59.12 to clip Ryan Lochte's season best of 1:59.19. Yuya Horihata finished second in 1:59.45 for 11th in the rankings, while Daiya Seto placed third in 1:59.96 for 18th in the rankings.

Izumi Kato moved up to 16th in the world rankings in the women's 200 IM with a winning time of 2:12.99. Emu Higuchi snared second-place honors in 2:13.53 for 21st in the rankings, while Asami Kitagawa touched third in 2:14.88.

Yuka Kato captured the women's 100 fly title in 58.89, well short of her seventh-ranked season best from April of 57.80. Rino Hosoda touched second in 59.00, while Tomoyo Fukuda grabbed third in 59.42. Natsumi Hoshi also cleared 1:00 with a fourth-place 59.48.

Kosuke Kitajima touched out Kazuki Otsuka, 2:11.43 to 2:11.52, in the men's 200 breast. Kitajima and Otsuka stand second and third in the world rankings with a 2:09.26 and 2:09.94, respectively. Naoya Tomita, the world pacesetter with a 2:08.25, elected not to swim this weekend. Akihiro Yamaguchi finished third tonight in 2:12.54.

Masafumi Yamaguchi won the men's 50 back in 25.53, while Yamato Ujibayashi picked up second in 25.73. Kuninori Tada earned third in 25.95.

Yayoi Matsumoto claimed the women's 50 free in 25.51, while Miki Uchida earned second in 25.67. An Yumoto wound up third in 25.82. Kento Ito topped the men's 50 free in 22.43. Shinri Shioura tied Yuji Kawachi for second with matching 22.74s.