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Hagino Crushes 400IM Mark In 4:07.61

Apr 11, 2013  - Craig Lord

Olympic bronze medallist Kosuke Hagino took down his own Japanese and Asian record for a 4:07.61 victory in the 400m medley on day 1 of 4 at the Daiei Probis Phoenix Pool in Niigata prefecture.

The silver and Japan's second berth at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona this July and August went to Daiya Seto in 4:12.70, a 4:15.11 granting the bronze to Takeharu Fujimori. 

The race belonged to Hagino on his way to the top of the 2013 world rankings a thump inside the 4:08.94 national mark in which he took bronze behind Ryan Lochte (USA) and Thiago Pereira (BRA) at London 2012 last year. 

Here is where Hagino, who turns 19 this year, has stepped up the pace since the podium in London last year:

  • 56.32; 1:57.31; 3:08.84; 4:07.61 Hagino Niigata 2013
  • 56.77; 1:59.18; 3:10.74; 4:08.94 Hagino London 2012
  • 55.02; 1:56.86; 3:06.53; 4:05.18 Lochte London 2012
  • 56.76; 2:00.61; 3:09.16; 4:08.86 Pereira London 2012

After turning first in 55.79 on butterfly, Seto felt the heat of Hagino on backstroke, the gap between the tiop two 3.2sec by the turn into breaststroke.

Hagino is now 5th fastest all-time, his winning time today also the 14th best performance ever. World record holder and 2004 and 2008 Olympic champion Michael Phelps owns three of those efforts, Lochte accounts for six on the list, Laszlo Cseh (HUN) and Tyler Clary (USA) have two swim each. Take shiny suit times away and Hagino is third best ever behind Lochte and Phelps, on 4:05.18 ands 4:06.22 respectively.

The Japan record survived by a whisker in the 100m free final for men as Shinri Shioura led from go to gold in 48.78. Out in 23.19, the 21-year-old fell just 0.08sec shy of the national mark held by Kenta Ito since September last year. Shioura's previous best of 48.85 was established in the same final a touch behind Ito last year.

Today, Ito settled for silver in 49.23, with Takuru Fujii third in 49.34 and Kenji Kobase fourth in 49.57. The whole final cracked 50sec, Japan assured a 4x100m free relay at world titles this summer. Shioura's winning time is 5th best in the world this year. Early days and some context: Yannick Agnel cruised a 49.05 in heats at French nationals this morning in Rennes.

The pressure that has mounted in the race to topple King Frog Kosuke Kitajima failed to produce a sub-minute effort in the 100m breaststroke final, a blanket finish locking Olympic semi-finalist Ryo Tateishi off the podium: Kitajima, setting the pace at 28.45 at the turn, took yet another domestic gold in 1:00.78 - slower than a heats effort of 1:00.69. 

Kitajima cut it fine: his time produced a 0.03sec win over 200m world record holder Akihiro Yamaguchi, Koichiru Okazaki taking bronze in 1:00.86, 0.03sec ahead of Yasuhiro Koseki. Tateishi was the last man inside 1:01, on 1:00.94. It was a busy day for Okazaki: he won a swim-off 1:01.00 to 1:01.37 with Yoshiki Yamanaka for a place in the final after both clocked 1:01.44 in heats.

In other action, the women's 100m breaststroke podium lined up on 1:07s, the winning touch with Satomi Suzuki in 1:07.43, 0.04sec ahead of Kanako Watanabe, the bronze to Rie Kaneto in 1:07.83. All three enter the world top 10 so far this season. 

Yuka Katou for the better of Misaki Agou, 26.47 to 26.89, in the butterfly dash, third place going to Masako Kuroki in 27.20. The men's equivalent went to Ryo Takatasu in 24.00, 0.13sec ahead of Yusuke Yasue, Masayuki Kishida 0.03sec further adrift for bronze. Kishida clocked 23.89 in heats, while Hirofumi Ikebata was on 24.10 this morning and 24.43 in 7th this evening. 

Chihiro Igarashi, after the sole sub-minute first-100m split, set the pace all the way to a 4:10.67 victory in the 400 metres freestyle. Chida Asami took silver in 4:12.46, the bronze going to Tsudumi Hasegawa in 4:13.28.