Japan Swim: Ryosuke Irie, Satomi Suzuki, Kosuke Hagino Post Strong Times

TOKYO, Japan, April 7. DURING the penultimate day of Olympic qualifying at the Japan Swim in Tokyo, three finals featured top-five times in the world rankings this year.

According to Swimming World Japanese correspondent Hideki Mochizuki, Japan is utilizing a different qualifying standard instead of the FINA A and B cut times. This much-faster cut will be applied by Japan in a similar fashion to the FINA A cut, where Japan will only select two swimmers if they both clock a faster time than the cut.

FINALS
Women's 800 free
Cut: 8:26.21
No one earned a guaranteed spot on the Olympic roster in the event, with Maiko Fujino winning in just 8:31.30. The time did clear the FINA A cut of 8:33.84, and could potentially be nominated by Japan. Japan, however, has been fairly consistent stating its internal Olympic cuts would be adhered to during the Olympic roster nomination process. Fujino moved up to 23rd in the world with her swim.

Asami Chida (8:35.12), Ayano Koguchi (8:40.02), Yukimi Moriyama (8:42.96), Yurie Yano (8:43.02), Misato Iwanaga (8:44.24), Emu Higuchi (8:48.88) and Mizuki Nonaka (8:49.44) also competed in the finale.

Men's 200 back
Cut: 1:57.91
Ryosuke Irie just missed his season best of 1:54.02 from January with a swift time of 1:54.03 to capture the distance dorsal title, and another individual swim at the 2012 London Olympics. Irie now owns the top three times in the world this year with a 1:54.02, 1:54.03 and a 1:56.16. Kazuki Watanabe secured the second Olympic roster spot with a strong time of 1:56.83 to move to third in the world rankings behind Ben Stasiulis (1:56.39).

Both Yuki Shirai (1:57.60) and Hayate Matubara (1:57.76) cleared both the FINA A cut and Japan's internal Olympic cut, but wound up third and fourth to be on the outside of Olympic qualifying. Shirai and Matubara moved to ninth and 10th in the world rankings, respectively.

Takahiro Yamazaki placed fifth in 1:58.60 for a top 25 world ranking, while Kuninori Tada (1:58.97), Keita Sunama (1:59.45) and Takashi Nakano (2:00.41) also vied for the meet title in the event.

Women's 200 breast
Cut: 2:25.38
Satomi Suzuki, who earlier in the meet made the Olympic team in the 100 breast, blitzed the championship field with a 2:22.99. She joined only Rebecca Soni (2:22.73) as swimmers to have broken 2:23 in the women's 200 breast this year, and cut nearly a second from her lifetime best of 2:23.83. She vaulted from 23rd in the all-time rankings, up to 17th as just the 17th member of the sub-2:23 club.

Kanako Watanabe snared the second Olympic spot in the event with a swift 2:23.56, edging out Fumiko Kawanabe (2:23.83) and Rie Kaneto (2:23.83) in the process. Watanabe moved to third in the world rankings with her strong time, while Kawanabe and Kaneto now stand tied for fourth in the world after what proved to be the fastest 200 breast heat so far this year. Keiko Fukudome finished fifth in 2:25.10 for a top 10 time of her own. Saya Fujimoto (2:25.62), Miho Takahashi (2:25.72) and Mio Motegi (2:26.02) rounded out the top eight this evening.

Men's 200 IM
Cut: 1:59.65
Kosuke Hagino ended the night with a 1:58.01 Japanese junior record to qualify for his second individual Olympic swim after posting an Asian record in the men's 400 IM earlier in the meet. Hagino moved to second in the world with his swim tonight, behind only Michael Phelps' 1:56.32. His effort also jumped him to 15th all time in the event's history.

Ken Takakuwa snatched the second Olympic bid with a 1:58.20 for fifth in the world rankings. Daiya Seto placed third in 1:58.83, missing an Olympic berth in the process, but moving up to eighth in the world this year.

Yuya Horihata (1:59.90), Takuto Ueki (2:00.42), Yuma Kosaka (2:00.67), Yosuke Mori (2:01.19) and Yuta Uchida (2:02.57) concluded the evening with fourth through eighth-place finishes.

SEMIFINALS
Men's 50 free
Cut: 21.97
In another event where the Japanese cut (21.97) is swifter than the Japanese record (22.11), Kenta Ito posted a 22.34 to lead the way into the finale. Makoto Ito took second in 22.42, while Yuki Kawachi placed third in 22.58. Japanese record-holder Shinri Shioura (22.78), Katsumi Nakamura (22.83), Yoshinori Muramatsu (22.84), Ranmaru Harada (22.91) and Kazuho Tomida (22.94) rounded out the championship field, all under 23 seconds.

Women's 50 free
Cut: 25.05
Haruka Ueda, who made the Olympic squad in the 100 free, has some work to do to make the 50 free after pacing semis with a 25.47. Yayoi Matsumoto took second in 25.53, while Tomoko Hagiwara earned third in 25.75. Hanae Ito (25.78), Natsuki Hasegawa (25.88), Miki Uchida (25.98), Chiaki Shimonaka (26.00) and Syoko Tanabe (26.00) also grabbed transfer spots into the finale.

Men's 100 fly
Cut: 51.82
Takuro Fujii came close to the Japanese cut in the event with a semi-leading time of 52.05 to move to fourth in the world rankings this year. Only Chris Wright (51.67), Tyler McGill (51.95) and Michael Rock (52.02) have been faster so far this year. Takeshi Matsuda, who has had an incredible meet thus far, cruised into second with a 52.36 for 14th in the world rankings. Ryo Takayasu placed third in 52.74. Hirofumi Ikebata (52.78), Masayuki Kishida (53.03), Takuya Nozawa (53.12), Syota Hara (53.23) and Kazuya Kaneda (53.23) each earned a spot in the championship heat as well.

Women's 200 back
Cut: 2:09.46
Shiho Sakai nearly cleared the Japanese Olympic selection cut in semis with a 2:09.61, which moved her to 13th in the world rankings in the distance dorsal. Marie Kamimura has some work to do in the finale with a 2:10.95 to earn the second seed. Miyu Otsuka finished third in 2:11.18. Saki Shimazoe (2:11.65), Kana Ozeki (2:12.03), Yuka Kawayoke (2:12.85), Miyuki Takemura (2:13.04) and Eri Tabei (2:13.11) comprised the rest of the finale.

PRELIMS
Men's 1500 free
Cut: 15:00.58
Kohei Yamamoto led the way in prelims with a 15:11.27 to qualify for the finale on the final day of swimming. Ayatsugu Hirai clocked in second with a 15:12.93, while Yosuke Miyamoto took third in 15:13.05. Yohei Takiguchi (15:13.64), Syogo Takeda (15:18.61), Ryouta Watanabe (15:18.98), Yuto Sato (15:22.74) and Masatoshi Aso (15:27.35) also made the finale.