Rikako Ikee Leads 40-Strong Japanese Team for Fukuoka World Championships

Rikako Ikee; Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Rikako Ikee Leads 40-Strong Japanese Team for Fukuoka World Championships

Rikako Ikee is set to return to the World Aquatics Championships for the first time in six years after her performances at the recent Japanese trials.

The Japan Swimming Federation on Monday released a roster of 40 swimmers for Worlds in Fukuoka this July. Ikee is coming off a Japan Swim 2023 meet in which she won four titles at the Tokyo Aquatic Center and hit the qualifying A standard in two events.

Ikee was diagnosed with leukemia in 2019, putting a pause on a promising youth career and limiting her to just one relay at the Tokyo Olympics. But the 22-year-old has return to health and resumed her upward trajectory.

“The first day I won the 100 fly to qualify which I wasn’t expecting to do, really, and managed to get on a roll from there,” she said in a press release. “I’m not particularly happy with my times so I need to take it up a notch from here. I’m looking forward to it. The Olympics was here and now it’s the world championships.”

Japanese Championships Coverage

Ikee is one of 17 holdovers from the Tokyo Olympics. The group includes both of Japan’s medalists at those Games, two-time gold medalist Yui Ohashi and men’s 200 butterfly silver medalist Tomoru Honda.

Joining her in Fukuoka is 16-year-old phenom Mio Narita, who won the 200 IM and 400 IM at nationals. It bolsters a deep IM contingent led by Ohashi and Ageha Tanigawa.

Katsuhiro Matsumoto leads the men’s squad. He won three events at the qualifying meet, setting the only national record of the week by going 47.85 in the 100 butterfly. Former 200 breast world record holder Ippei Watanabe is also in the squad, as is four-time World Champion Daiya Seto and four-time Worlds medalist Ryosuke Irie.

Team Japan at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships

Men’s: Shinri Shioura, Katsuhiro Matsumoto, Ryosuke Irie, Hidekazu Takehara, Daiki Yanagawa, Yuya Hinomoto, Ippei Watanabe, Shoma Sato, Takeshi Kawamoto, Naomi Mizunuma, Tomoru Honda, Teppei Morimoto, Daiya Seto, So Ogata, Tomonobu Gomi, Katsumi Nakamura, Masahiro Kawane, Hidenari Mano, Taikan Tanaka, Fuyu Yoshida

Women’s: Rikako Ikee, Rio Shirai, Miyu Namba, Waka Kobori, Yukimi Moriyama, Miki Takahashi, Hanane Hironaka, Satomi Suzuki, Reona Aoki, Runa Imai, Ai Soma, Airi Mitsui, Hiroko Makino, Mio Narita, Yui Ohashi, Ageha Tanigawa, Nagisa Ikemoto, Yume Jinno, Chihiro Igarashi, Kinuko Mochizuki

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