Shoma Sato Moves to Fourth All-Time in 200 Breast With 2:06.8 at Kitajima Cup (RACE VIDEO)

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Photo Courtesy: FINA / Budapest 2019

19-year-old Shoma Sato closed out the Kitajima Cup in Japan with a 2:06.83 in the 200 breaststroke, moving himself up to fourth all-time in the event as he became the fifth man to break the 2:07 barrier and the second from Japan to do so. Closing the meet with the 200 breaststroke, one of the pet events of the man the meet is named after, Kosuke Kitajima, Sato won ahead of Yamato Fukasawa at 2:09.94.

Out in 1:01.18, Sato nearly split under 33 seconds for each 50, with a 32.5 and 33.0 on the second half of the race. He is now second all-time in Japan behind former world record holder and reigning Worlds bronze medalist Ippei Watanabe (2:06.67). This is an improvement from his previous best of 2:07.0 as Sato is quickly becoming one of the world’s top breaststrokers in an already crowded event. All five men who have cracked 2:07 all-time in the 200 breast are still active.

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. 2:06.83, Shoma Sato, JPN, 2021
  5. 2:06.85, Arno Kamminga, NED, 2020

Here is the race video:

  • Sato’s splits: 28.98, 1:01.18 (32.20), 1:33.75 (32.57), 2:06.78 (33.03)
  • 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 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, the man that this meet is named after: Kosuke Kitajima.

In other action:

Yui Ohashi won a tight race with Miho Teramura in the 200 IM with Ohashi coming out on top at 2:09.86 to Teramura’s 2:10.08. Ohashi’s time was a new meet record and a solid start to her 2021 as her best time still stands at 2:07.9.

In the men’s race, Kosuke Hagino took the 200 IM with a 1:58.62 ahead of Ippei Miyamoto (2:00.48) as Hagino, the oldest in the field by five years, was the only to break 2:00. He won in the absence of Daiya Seto, who was serving a suspension by the Japanese Swimming Federation through the 2020 calendar year. Hagino is the reigning Olympic silver medalist in the 200 IM.

Reona Aoki doubled up in wins with a 2:24.83 in the 200 breaststroke ahead of Yukino Miyasaka (2:25.05), Haruna Ogata (2:25.48) and Shiori Asaba (2:25.57). Aoki is one of the top breaststrokers in Japan and is aiming to make her first Olympics this summer, and also reached the 2019 Worlds final in the 100 breast.

Naoki Mizunuma swam a 51.84 in winning the men’s 100 butterfly, which is not far off his 51.6 he swam in December, as he won ahead of veteran Yuki Kobori (52.32). The women’s race went to Suzuka Hasegawa (58.55), who is coming off a strong showing at the ISL where she had the top time in the world in the 200 butterfly in short course meters.

Shinri Shioura won the men’s 50 free at 22.25 ahead of Katsumi Nakamura (22.26) in the closest race of the meet. Chihiro Igarashi won the women’s race at 25.16.