Junya Koga Leads 50 Free Field After Day Six Prelims Of The 2016 Japanese Nationals

Photo Courtesy: Mike Comer/ProSwimVisuals.com

Day six of the Japanese Nationals continued with the men and women showing their sprinting abilities.

Junya Koga of Club Wolverine delivered the top time in prelims of the men’s 50-meter freestyle, stopping the clock at a 22.53. That stands as Koga’s fastest time this season after posting a time of 22.68 at the Austin stop of the Arena Pro Series.

Shinri Shioura, winner of the 50 free title last year and Japense National Record holder, grabbed a close second with a time of 22.56. Currently Shioura sits at 17th in the world rankings with a time of 21.88 which he set at the Perth Aquatic Super Series earlier in the year. Kenji Kobase rounded out the top three with a 22.70.

The women’s 50-meter free was led by Syoko Tanabe and her time of 25.68. Tanabe’s time is an improvement upon where she was at Nationals in 2015 where she finished eighth overall with a 26.02.

Rikako Ikee, the silver medalist in the 100 free, posted the second fastest time of the morning at a 25.76, just ahead of Miki Uchida, the gold medalist in the 100 free, and her time of 25.91. The qualifiers will all need to turn up the heat to dip below the 25-second mark and reach the Japanese Olympic qualifying standard of 24.59.

The men’s 100-meter fly was a tightly packed field with the top three qualifiers finishing within .33 seconds of one another. At the top of the leaderboard was Takurou Fujii who delivered a time of 52.49. Grabbing second in prelims was Takaya Yasue who stopped the clock at a 52.81. Kouhei Kawamoto rounded out the top three with a 52.82.

After a sub-par women’s 100-meter back showing it is possible that we may not see any of the athletes near the Japanese Olympic qualifying standard in the 200-meter back. With the standard sitting at a 2:08.76 the women will need to turn on the heat to break through the 2:10-mark. Yuka Kawayoke posted the top time in prelims with a 2:10.97 just ahead of 20-year old Mayuko Gotou’s 2:11.23.


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