Shoma Sato Blasts Another 2:06 200 Breast in Tokyo; Watanabe Follows in 2:07 (RACE VIDEO)

Shoma Sato
Photo Courtesy: MIKE LEWIS/ISL

19-year-old Shoma Sato, just a few weeks removed from his 2:06.83 at the Kitajima Cup, swam even faster on Sunday in the 200 breaststroke final on the last day of the Japan Open at the Olympic pool in Tokyo. Sato swam a 2:06.74 to remain fourth all-time as he also dragged Ippei Watanabe, the winner of the bronze at the 2019 Worlds, to a 2:07.54, which is just off his 2:07.0 from December.


Sato and Watanabe looks to be a solid 1-2 punch ahead of a home Olympics as they have christened the pool with some fast swims. The 200 breast looks to be one of the top races at the Olympic Games this summer as Japan has a rich history in the 200 breaststroke, and it would be fitting if Kimigayo was played for the 200 breaststroke medal ceremony in Japan.

All-Time Rankings:

  1. 2:06.12, Anton Chupkov, RUS, 2019
  2. 2:06.67, Ippei Watanabe, JPN, 2017
  3. 2:06.67, Matthew Wilson, AUS, 2019
  4. 2:06.74, Shoma Sato, JPN, 2021
  5. 2:06.85, Arno Kamminga, NED, 2020

The race video can be viewed below with Sato in lane four and Watanabe in lane three:

  • Sato’s splits: 29.00, 1:01.11 (32.11), 1:33.63 (32.52), 2:06.74 (33.11)
  • WR splits: 29.73, 1:02.22 (32.49), 1:34.23 (32.01), 2:06.12 (31.89)

Sato was under world record pace through 150 meters (as most swimmers seem to be when racing world record holder Chupkov) and held on to sit in the sub-2:07 club, which has become the new standard in men’s breaststroke, in part to how athletic the event has become – a nod to one of the swimmers that helped evolve this event into a leg driven stroke