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Japan Ready To Rattle The World Ranks

Apr 11, 2013  - Craig Lord

Quadruple Olympic champion of 2004 and 2008 Kosuke Kitajima turns 31 this year. He's still in great shape: 1:00.69 granted him lane four for the final of the 100m breaststroke on day 1 of 4 at the Daiei Probis Phoenix Pool in Niigata prefecture. 

Yasujiro Koseki and 200m world record holder Akihiro Yamaguchi also raced inside 1:01, while the Kitajima Draw runs deep in Japan: the top 17 in the race inside 1:02, the final sealed at  1:01.44. In the afternoon, the B final was won by Hiromasa Sakimoto in 1:00.62.

Olympic bronze medallist Kosuke Hagino got his Japan nationals campaign off to a solid start with a 4:13.07 in the 400IM heats. Daiya Seto was closest, on 4:15.70, the final locked at 4:20.02. The B-final was won by Yousuke Mori in 4:17.89 in the afternoon session.

The top six men in the 100m free heats cracked 50sec, Shinri Shioura on 49.28 at the helm of qualifiers, 50.28 the last effort good enough for a second bite in the final.

The top 10 women in the 100m breaststroke heats raced inside 1:10, Satomi Suzuki on 1:08.25 at the helm of three inside 1:09, the final sealed at 1:09.74. 

The result sheets of 2013 are starting to throw up the first generation born in this Millennium: in 10th place in the 100m breaststroke on a 1:09.97 was Runa Imai, born as Hoogey, Thorpey, Inky and Co got ready for battle at Sydney 2000 just as a boy called Michael Phelps made it to his first games at 15. In the afternoon session, Imai took second in the B final in 1:09.77.

The morning session closed with a a 15:06.96 effort from  Ayatsuga Hirai in the 1500m free heats, Kouhei Yamamoto closest to him on 15:12.07, the final sealed at 15:26.99. Back in 18th was Jyoutarou Nishizaki, 14 and already on a 15:45.25.