With Japanese Olympic Trials Set to Begin, Rikako Ikee Seeking Fairytale Showing

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

With Japanese Olympic Trials Set to Begin, Rikako Ikee Seeking Fairytale Showing

As the Olympic Trials season picks up, one of the most awaited competitions begins tomorrow (this evening in the United States). The Japanese Trials, where athletes will seek the opportunity to race at a home Olympic Games, gets underway for eight days in Tokyo. The meet is known as the Japan Swim and is expected to feature some quick performances.

The first day of the meet will see action in the men’s and women’s 400 individual medley, men’s 400 freestyle, women’s 100 butterfly and men’s 100 breaststroke. The headliner names will be Daiya Seto and Rikako Ikee, each with a different storyline.

For Seto, he will feel less pressure than his competitors, as the multi-event star is already qualified for the Tokyo Games in the medley events. Seto earned his Olympic bids by virtue of his status as the reigning world champion in the 200 individual medley and 400 individual. Seto is still expected to race those events, along with the 200 butterfly, where he is chasing a third event for his Olympic program.

As for Ikee, the Japanese star continues her return to competition after fighting Leukemia. The national-record holder in several events, Ikee will open her meet in the 100 butterfly. While Ikee has taken significant steps forward in terms of her performances during her comeback, it remains to be seen how close she will come to challenging Olympic-qualifying standards.

On the opening night of the meet, the women’s 400 medley will be led by Yui Ohashi while the men’s 100 breaststroke will see prelims in what should be a closely contested event. One surprise that was announced last week is that reigning Olympic champion Kosuke Hagino has decided to not contest the 400 individual medley.

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