Ryosuke Irie Leads Japanese Assault at Western Australia Championships

PERTH, Australia, January 20. JAPAN'S Ryosuke Irie and a few of his Japanese teammates gave the crowd a preview of what's likely to come at the Olympics at the Western Australia long course state championships.

Irie ripped off a 1:54.02 in the 200 back on Thursday, which puts him at the top of the early world rankings for 2012. The time is also a shade faster than the 1:54.11 he swam at the 2011 world championships to earn the silver medal and the 1:54.08 he swam at the 2011 Japanese nationals in April. Ryan Lochte owned the fastest 200 back of 2011 with a 1:52.96 in Shanghai.

Irie also won the 100 back in 53.54, which also puts him at the top of the 2012 rankings, by one-hundredth of a second ahead of Matt Grevers' time from last weekend's Austin Grand Prix. Irie's best time of 2011 was a 52.98 at the world championships, which earned him the bronze medal. Today in the 50 back semifinals, Irie posted a 25.43.

Yuta Kimura of Japan has laid claim to the top 200 fly time for 2012 so far, posting a 1:57.95 in the 200 butterfly final. Kimura improved slightly on his best time from 2011, a 1:58.05 that ranked him 50th worldwide.

Sho Sotodate also put up the fastest global time of 2012 in the men's 400 free with a 3:49.17. The time bumps Great Britain's David Carry's 3:49.29 from the top of the world rankings.

Kohei Kawamoto won the men's 100 fly in 53.07 for seventh in the 2012 world rankings. Kawamoto swam a 52.35 last year for 21st in the world rankings for 2011. He would return today to win the 50 fly in 24.26.

World champions Matt Abood and Eamon Sullivan of Australia were the showcase swimmers in the 50 freestyle, with Abood taking the win in 22.37 over Sullivan's 22.94. Today, Abood put up the top time in the 100 free semifinals with a 49.65, with Sullivan scratching from the semis after posting a 51.88 in prelims.

Therese Alshammar, coming off a FINA World Cup overall victory that netted her more than $120,000 in winnings, placed first in the 50 free semifinals today with a 25.18. Alshammar won the world championship in this event last year with a 24.14. Alshammar also placed first in the 100 back semis today with a 1:01.61.

Brianna Throssell, a 15-year-old from Perth, has been the meet's only triple winner, taking the 50 fly in 27.56, the 100 fly in 1:00.70 and the 100 free in 55.74.