ZUMO Performance of the Week: Shoma Sato Skips 2:08 to Slam 2:07.5 200 Breast at Kitajima Cup

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Shoma Sato (left) posing with Josh Matheny and Yuta Arai after the 200 breast medal ceremony at the FINA World Juniors this summer. Photo Courtesy: FINA / Budapest 2019

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This week’s ZUMO Performance of the Week goes to Shoma Sato of Japan for his 2:07.58 in the LCM 200 breaststroke at the Kitajima Cup in Tokyo on Sunday. Sato, 18, moved up from 10th to 5th all-time in Japan in the 200 breaststroke as he also defeated former world record holder and current Japanese record holder Ippei Watanabe (2:07.86). Both those guys moved up to the top two spots in the world for 2020, just three weeks into the new year.

Sato was a 2:09.23 in 2019 as he set the world junior record in September, putting himself 23rd in the world last year. That was a good swim and set him up for a good 2020, with the probable intention of peaking at the 2024 Olympics in Paris. However, with Sato’s jump up from 2:09 to a 2:07, he could be swimming in a home Olympics this summer. He is still only 18, but he is looking in good shape to make a run at the Olympics this summer. His time this weekend would have put him fifth at the World Championships in 2019 where Watanabe won the bronze medal in the fastest field ever assembled.

Fellow Japanese Daiya Seto was considered for performance of the week for his 400 IM at the same meet in Tokyo, but he had recently been selected for the ZUMO Performance of the Week in December for his 400 IM at the International Swimming League final.

The Japanese field in the 200 breast, the very event that was dominated by Kosuke Kitajima whose name bears the name of the meet in which this was swum, is especially stacked with the presence of Sato, reigning Worlds bronze medalist Ippei Watanabe, as well as Yasuhiro Koseki and Kazuki Kohinata. Sato also won the silver medal in the 2019 FINA World Juniors in the 200 breast with a 2:09.56 as he was run down by American Josh Matheny in the final 50. Teammate Yuta Arai joined him on the podium in Budapest with a 2:10.84.

The splits in Tokyo:

  • 29.02; 1:01.41; 1:34.22; 2:07.58 Sato
  • 28.88; 1:01.47; 1:34.41; 2:07.86 Watanabe
That made Sato the fifth fastest in Japan ever as the fifth entry in the domestic sub-2:08 club:
  • 2:06.67, 2017, Ippei Watanabe
  • 2:07.01, 2012, Akihiro Yamaguchi
  • 2:07.18, 2017, Yasuhiro Koseki
  • 2:07.51, 2008, Kosuke Kitajima
  • 2:07.58, 2020, Shoma Sato
  • source: StateOfSwimming

Congrats to Shoma Sato for winning the ZUMO Performance of the Week!

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