Kanako Watanabe Breaks 100 Breast Japanese Record, Moves to 2nd in World at Japan Open

TOKYO, Japan, June 19. THE entire first night at the Japan Open featured strong swims top-to-bottom. Kanako Watanabe walked away with top honors by not only moving to second in the world in the women’s 100-meter breast but also downing the Japanese record in the process.

Watanabe became the first Japanese female to ever break 1:06 in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke with a scorching time of 1:05.88. That performance beat the previous national record of 1:06.32 set by Satomi Suzuki at the Japanese University Championships back in 2009, and moved Watanabe up to second in the SwimVortex world rankings in the process. Only Ruta Meilutyte has been faster this year with a blistering 1:05.63 from British Nationals. Suzuki, meanwhile, took second tonight in 1:06.48 as she almost posted a lifetime best in the process. That swim moved her to fourth in the world ,while Rie Kaneto took third overall in 1:07.84. Kaneto has been faster this year with an 11th-ranked 1:07.23 from Japanese Nationals.

Daiya Seto picked up a big upset in the men’s 400-meter IM with a sizzling time of 4:10.21. That swim not only put him second in the world rankings behind only Kosuke Hagino’s ridiculous 4:07.88 from Japanese Nationals, it also beat Hagino tonight as Hagino took second in 4:12.51. Seto’s previous best this year had been a fifth-ranked 4:12.30 from Japanese Nationals. Takeharu Fujimori clinched third in the finale with a 4:14.39, just off his sixth-ranked 4:13.80 from Japanese Nationals as well.

Yasuhiro Koseki lowered his season best in the men’s 100-meter breast with a strong time of 59.91 for the win tonight. That beat his 59.94 from the Australian Aquatic Super Series and matched him with Felipe da Silva’s seventh-ranked time of 59.91 from the Maria Lenk Trophy meet. Naoya Tomita took second overall in 1:00.46 with Kosuke Kitajima winding up third in 1:00.61. Both Tomita and Kitajima had been faster in prelims this morning with Tomita qualifying second in 1:00.56 and Kitajima touching third in 1:00.58. Tomita moved up to 17th in the world with the prelim swim, while Kitajima tied Yuta Oshikiri for 19th in the world. Notably, Oshikiri placed fourth tonight in 1:00.65.

Miki Uchida jumped to a ninth-ranked tie in the women’s 50-meter fly with a winning time of 26.20. That matched the 26.20 posted by Marieke D’Cruz at the NSW State Championships in Sydney earlier this year . Tomoyo Fukuda finished second in the event with a 26.66, while Yui Yamane took third overall in 26.78.

In an exciting finish, Kohei Kawamoto tied Masayuki Kishida in the men’s 50-meter fly with matching performances of 23.82. That tied the pair with Nathaniel Romeo for 16th in the world rankings. Hirofumi Ikebata touched third in the sprint fly tonight with a time of 23.92.

Chihiro Igarashi took home the women’s 400-meter free title in 4:11.02, while Asami Chida also posted a 4:11 performance with a second-place time of 4:11.79. Chinatsu Sato placed third overall in 4:13.38, just edging Aya Takano (4:13.63) for the final podium spot. Reo Sakata took home the men’s 100-meter free title in 49.53 with Kenji Kobase taking second in 49.74. Katsumi Nakamura checked in with a third-place time of 49.79.

In preliminary competition in the men’s 1500-meter free, Ayatsugu Hirai took the top seed in 15:18.86. Yosuke Miyamoto finished second in 15:21.05 with Yohei Takiguchi finishing third in 15:21.66.