Japan Swim: Takuro Fujii Posts Second-Fastest Time This Year; No One Guaranteed for Olympic Selection

TOKYO, Japan, April 8. EVEN though one swimmer posted the second-fastest time in the world this year, no one earned a guaranteed Olympic bid today at the Japan Swim according to Japan's stringent internal Olympic qualification structure.

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.

Men's 1500 free
Cut: 15:00.58
Kohei Yamamoto clipped Yohei Takiguchi, 15:01.13 to 15:01.88, in a close contest in the metric mile. Neither swimmer, however, bested Japan's internal Olympic selection cut even though both cleared the FINA A cut of 15:11.83. The two moved to sixth and eighth in the world rankings, respectively.

Ayatsugu Hirai (15:10.99), Ryouta Watanabe (15:15.40), Yuto Sato (15:17.47), Yosuke Miyamoto (15:17.71), Syogo Takeda (15:28.39) and Masatoshi Aso (15:31.71) also competed in the finale.

Men's 50 free
Cut: 21.97
Kenta Ito raced to 22.20 for the win, but fell short of the Japanese Olympic selection time. He did, however, undercut the FINA B time of 22.88 leaving an opening for Japan to change its mind on its nomination process. Ito moved to 19th in the world with his swim today.

Yuki Kawachi (22.44), Shinri Shioura (22.56), Makoto Ito (22.58), Kazuho Tomida (22.88), Ranmaru Harada (22.89), Yoshinori Muramatsu (23.03) and Katsumi Nakamura (23.06) also vied for the splash-and-dash title.

Women's 50 free
Cut: 25.05
Haruka Ueda missed adding the women's 50 free to her Olympic docket after already setting the Japanese record to make the team in the 100 free. Ueda swam to a 25.17, missing both Japan's Olympic cut and the national record of 25.14 set by Sumika Minamoto back in 2001. She did clear the FINA A cut of 25.27, leaving the possibility of Japan nominating her for this event in London if it chooses to do so.

Yayoi Matsumoto took second in 25.37, while Miki Uchida posted a Japanese junior record with a third-place 25.48. Hanae Ito (25.60), Tomoko Hagiwara (25.67), Natsuki Hasegawa (25.72), Chiaki Shimonaka (25.73) and Syoko Tanabe (25.95) rounded out the championship heat.

Men's 100 fly
Cut: 51.82
Takuro Fujii missed Japan's Olympic selection mark by less than .10 seconds with a 51.91 for the win. That is the second-fastest time in the world this year behind only Chris Wright's 51.67 and ahead of Tyler McGill's 51.95, but is not good enough for Japan's automatic qualifying standard. He far surpassed the FINA A cut of 52.36.

Takeshi Matsuda, who already made the team with a blistering time in the 200 fly, finished second in 52.37. Hirofumi Ikebata (52.43), Ryo Takayasu (52.86), Takuya Nozawa (53.07), Syoto Hara (53.29), Kazuya Kaneda (53.32) and Masayuki Kishida (53.41) also posted finals finishes.

Women's 200 back
Cut: 2:09.46
Shiho Sakai raced to victory in 2:09.59 to clear her season best of 2:09.61 for 13th in the world rankings, but missed out on automatic qualification due to Japan's swift internal cut. She easily cleared the FINA A cut of 2:10.84, and will wait to see if Japan elects to nominate her to the event in London. Marie Kamimura (2:10.44) also cleared the FINA A cut, and might be in line for a second Olympic spot for Japan if the country budges from its internal qualification standard.

Miyu Ohtsuka (2:10.69), Saki Shimazoe (2:11.02), Kana Ozeki (2:11.41), Miyuki Takemura (2:13.45), Eri Tabei (2:14.03) and Yuka Kawayoke (2:14.50) completed the rest of the championship eight.

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