ZUMO Performance of the Week: Katsuhiro Matsumoto Breaks Japanese Record in SCM 400 Free

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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This week’s ZUMO Performance of the Week goes to Katsuhiro Matsumoto of Japan and Central Sports as he broke the Japanese record in the 400 SCM free at the New Year Championships in Chiba, Japan. He swam a 3:37.94, which would have put him third in the world for the 2019 calendar year behind Danas Rapsys (3:33.20) and Gabriele Detti (3:36.63).

Matsumoto swam faster than anyone did in the entirety of the 2019 ISL season with the quickest time coming from Australia’s Elijah Winnington (3:38.30) in Budapest in October. With the addition of the new Tokyo team led by breaststroke great Kosuke Kitajima, expect the 22-year-old Matsumoto to make his ISL debut this coming season.

He also swam a 1:44.02 in the 200 freestyle at the championships, but his 400 has been selected as the ZUMO Performance of the Week.

Matsumoto actually did not swim the 400 freestyle at the World Championships this past summer as he only swam the 200 free, where he won the silver medal behind Sun Yang in one of the most controversial races of the year. It resulted in one of the most iconic photos of the decade when bronze medalist Duncan Scott refused to pose for photos with Sun. But that controversy can be discussed at another time.

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Stand-off: Britain’s Duncan Scott, right, refuses to pose with Sun Yang, flanked by Katsuhiro Matsumoto, left, and Martin Malyutin, after the 200m free medals ceremony – Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

Matsumoto will be a huge crowd favorite at this summer’s Olympic Games if he is to qualify for the Japanese team. He has been steadily improving the last few years, finishing bronze in the 200 freestyle at the Pan Pacific Championships in 2018 at 1:45.92 in front of the Tokyo crowd. A few weeks later at the Asian Games in Indonesia, he finished with the silver in the same event at 1:46.50.

In 2019, he improved his best time in the 200 free to a 1:45.22 at the World Championships where he won the silver. With his new 400 speed, he could be a duel threat at the Olympics this summer. Matsumoto has told reporters he is determined to win a gold medal in Tokyo this summer.

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Katsuhiro Matsumoto shows off the growing body he’s proud of as he explains to Japanese media that training has seen him grow out of his bathers – Photo Courtesy: screenshot, Hochi Shimbun

Congrats to Katsuhiro Matsumoto on winning this week’s ZUMO Performance of the Week!

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Previous ZUMO Performances of the Week

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ZUMO Performance of the Week: Kate Douglass Splits 57.8 100 Fly in LCM

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ZUMO Performance of the Week: Caeleb Dressel Breaks First Ever SCM World Record in His Career at ISL Final

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ZUMO Performance of the Week: Daiya Seto Breaks Ryan Lochte’s SCM 400 IM World Record at ISL Vegas Final

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