Shoma Sato Just Misses World Record in 200 Breaststroke at Japanese Olympic Trials; Moves to No. 2 All-Time

Shoma Sato

Shoma Sato Just Misses World Record in 200 Breaststroke at Japanese Olympic Trials; Moves to No. 2 All-Time

Shoma Sato made a run at the world record in the 200-meter breaststroke at the Japanese Olympic Trials on Wednesday night and while he just missed the standard, the rising star easily earned qualification to this summer’s Tokyo Games.

With a handful of sub-2:07 performances to his credit heading into Trials, Sato was viewed as a major threat to the world record of 2:06.12, which was set at the 2019 World Championships by Russian Anton Chupkov. Ultimately, he produced the second-fastest time in history, thanks to a clocking of 2:06.40. Sato was out in 1:00.89 and comfortably prevailed over a stacked field.

The victory for Sato, as much as his No. 2 performance all-time, atoned for what transpired earlier in the week in the 100 breaststroke. In the shorter event, Sato claimed a spot on Japan’s medley relay for the Olympics, but his time in the final was off what the Japanese Federation mandated for individual qualification. With the 200 breast in the rearview mirror, Sato now has a solo event for his program.

The battle for second place went to Ryuya Mura, who turned in a time of 2:07.58 and finished ahead of Ippei Watanabe, who was 2:08.30 for third. Although Watanabe is one of only five men in history to break the 2:07 barrier in the event and would be a medal contender in Tokyo, he will watch the Games this summer, as only two athletes per country are allowed per event.