Swimmer to Watch: Natsumi Hoshi

Feature by Hideki Mochizuki, Swimming World Japanese correspondent

TOKYO, Japan, April 5. THE biggest surprise from Day 4 of the Japanese Olympic Trials came in women's 200m butterfly when Natsumi Hoshi touched the wall in an impressive winning time of 2.04.69 (28.66, 1.00.65, 1.32.70).

Hoshi said right after the race, “this is like dream came true. In the semi, I felt tired latter half of the race so I was a bit anxious. Believing in myself, I went out strong in the final. At Beijing Games, I was just happy making the team but definitely not this time. I will push myself harder till the Games come.”

Hoshi's coach, Yoshikatsu Harada continued, “Hoshi's strength is come-from-behind capability. Rivals like Ellen Gandy of England is faster in first half of the race so keeping her race pace not bothered by others is important element to win in London.”

In 2007, when she was freshman at high school, she won the first junior national title in 200m butterfly, and became famous when she did 2.07.35, a leap frog in February 2008 at Beijing Open coming out as top seed for Olympic Trials two months later and made the team.

In last year's World Championships, Hoshi missed bronze medal by just one hundredth of second. This became a huge motivation for Hoshi, “I never ever want to experience that terrible feeling again,” Hoshi remembers. Coach Harada feels, “that single experience changed whole a lot of Hoshi's attitude toward training and racing obviously in positive way. We still have 100 days to go so there is a space that she can go faster.”

Hoshi said in the past, “I know rivals hate me because I am coming from behind. I will be careful not to go too slow. Then, I would have to say the same that I just came close but missed this and that much.” Hoshi definitely sees now for the first time that Olympic Gold medal is under her radar now.

Natsumi Hoshi
Born on August 21, 1990….164cm, 53kg…..Senior at Waseda University….Swin Daikyo Swimming School…..Coach: Yoshikatsu Harada

Progress of Hoshi in 200m butterfly
2008: 2.06.85
2009: 2.06.44
2010: 2.07.27
2011: 2.05.91
2012: 2.04.69

International experiences
2008: Beijing Games
2010: Pan Pacific Championships, Asian Games
2011: World Championships