Japanese Olympic Trials: Kosuke Kitajima Wins 100 Breast, Reiko Nakamura Breaks One-Minute in 100 Back

By Hideki Mochizuki, Swimming World Japanese Correspondent

TOKYO, Japan, April 16. DAY two of the Japanese Olympic Trials featured three finals. The biggest focus of the second night was Kosuke Kitajima's 100 breast.

Yesterday, Kitajima went 59.87 in prelims and 59.66 in semis. In the final, the last event of the second day, the Tatsumi Swimming Center buzzed for his performance. Kitajima went out in 28.16, but wound up finishing in 59.67.

"The pressure to break the world record was a little too strong," Kitajima said. "I want to swim one more time now. Although I had three races under 60 seconds, I am not comfortable. Plus, with this performance, I don't think I can win in Beijing. So, I need to refocus on what I should do."

In the men's 100 back final, Athens bronze medalist Tomomi Morita grabbed first place with a 54.03, during which he went out in 26.46. Second-place finisher was Junichi Miyashita, who also broke the Olympic standard time of 54.37.

"The last four years were just so long," Morita responded emotionally. "I was supported by so many people, and somehow I hung in there in the competition. I just appreciate everyone. Now, I just feel like I am standing on the starting line."

"This is the highest moment in my swimming career," Miyashita said. "I literally gave it all to this race."

In the women's 100 fly, Yuka Nakanishi blasted the competition with a come-from-behind strategy to gain the national record with a 58.52. That swim broke the record set yesterday of 58.59 by Ayako Doi, who wound up placing third and missing a chance for Beijing.

"Honestly, I am happy," Nakanishi said. "I was confident, but did not know if I had won. Actually, I am surprised to have won the race. This is very good for my 200 fly, which is my event. I want to beat the Japanese record there, and hopefully come close to the world record."

Nakanishi is the current national record holder in the 200 fly with a 2:06.52 set at the 2006 Pan Pacific Championships.

As previously reported, Reiko Nakamura joined the sub-1:00 club in the women's 100 back with a 59.96 for a new national record. In semis, Nakamura marked 1:00.05, turning in 29.16 at the 50. Second-place finisher Shiho Sakai recorded a Japanese high school record with a 1:00.63.

Tomorrow's final will be a battle between Nakamura, Sakai and Hanae Itoh, who was the third entry into finals with a 1:00.91 from semis. Women's backstroke is one of the featured events for the Japanese team. At the 2000 Sydney Games, Mai Nakamura won silver in the 100 and Miki Nakao took bronze in the 200. At the 2004 Athens Games, Nakamura grabbed bronze in the 200.

Event Results

Japanese Olympic Roster After Day Two
Men
Kosuke Kitajima (100m breaststroke, 59.67)
Takeshi Matsuda: (400 freestyle, 3:47.36)
Junichi Miyashita (100m backstroke, 54.37)
Tomomi Morita (100m backstroke, 54.03)
Yuta Suenaga (100m breaststroke, 1:00.72)

Women
Maiko Fujino (400 IM, 4:40.14)
Saori Haruguchi (400 IM, 4:38.94)
Yuka Kato (100m butterfly, 58.55)
Yuko Nakanishi (100m butterfly, 58.52)