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Hagino: Gold No4&5; 1:55 Asian 200IM Mark

Apr 13, 2013  - Craig Lord

Kosuke Hagino took his golden tally to five at Japan nationals in Niigata today with victories over 400m free and 200m medley, the latter in an Asian record of 1:55.74 that pulverised the previous standard by 1.48sec and raised the teenager to third best ever in textile suit behind Americans Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps.

Having won the 400IM in 4:07.61, an Asian record, the 200m free inside 1:47, the 100m back on 53.10, Hagino struck again with efforts of 3:45.42 in the 400m free, best ever in textile in Japan and the new mark in the short medley to conclude the session.

The 18-year-old Olympic 400IM bronze medallist with a string of junior marks to his credit at home and abroad on the all-comers lists of nations such as Australia,  dominated the 400m final with a roll of winning splits - 54.52; 1:51.92; 2:49.26; 3:45.42 - to a victory 5sec up on next home. 

Kohei Yamamoto, on 3:50.37, and Fumiya Hidaka, on 3:51.22, claimed the minor spoils as Hagino missed the Japanese record by 0.43sec, the standard having stood at 3:44.99 to Takeshi Matsuda since the heats at the 2008 Olympic Games, his record self-matched at Rome 2009 world titles. Hagino is the swiftest there has ever been from his country in textile, Matsuda's personal textile best (previous best for Japan) 3:46.59. Hagino's previous best, set in Australia in January, was 3:46.89, that up from a 2012 best of 3:48.61.

One new standard raised, he was back in within the hour for more pioneering, his medley victory unfolding as follows:

  • 24.56; 54.12; 1:27.86; 1:55.74 

Which added up to a record well inside the 2009 shiny suit standard of 1:57.24, held by Ken Takakuwa since 2009, and lifted Hagino inside his personal best of 1:57.35 from the Olympic final last year and up to  third best ever in textile. 

Only Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps (USA) have ever been faster in textile suits. Adding in the shiny stuff and Hagino stacks up in 5th fastest ever, the two Americans followed by efforts of 1:55.18 by Laszlo Cseh (HUN), 1:55.36 by Eric Shanteau  and 1:55.55 by Thiago Pereira, all at the Roma 2009 suits circus.

At 18, Phelps clocked 1:57.94; 1:57.52; 1:56.04 1:55.94, all world records in 2003; and at 18, Lochte's best was 1:56.11.

A day after setting the world pace on 58.84 in the 100m backstroke, Olympic medallist Aya Terakawa established a 27.51 Japanese record in the dash for gold by a wide margin over Emi Moronuki, 28.71, and Noriko Inada, 28.78. Terakawa's time shaved 0.2sec off her previous standard, clocked at the Japan Open in May last year.

Another of Japan's Olympic podium placers at London 2012, Natsumi Hoshi, showed good form with a 2:06.12 victory in the 200m butterfly a class ahead of the 2:09.73 and 2:10.44 efforts that granted silver and bronze respectively to Kona Fujita and Kei Hoshiba. 

The men's equivalent went to Yuki Kobori in 1:55.51, Daiya Seto taking silver and Japan's second berth at world championships this summer in 1:55.59. The bronze went to Matsuda in 1:56.26, 0.04sec ahead of Kenta Hirai in a tight final led by Matsuda, Olympic bronze medallist in 2012 behind Chad le Clos and Phelps, until the laps lap decider.

As a London 2012 medallist, Matsuda was pre-selected for Barcelona 2013 world titles, as were all who took a medal in Britain last year - only in Olympic events. However, many in Niigata have been left wondering who will go and who will not go to Spain this summer. Even Kosuke Kitajima, 100m breaststroke winner, does not know: the quadruple Olympic champion of 2004 and 2008 did not make the podium at London 2012, while his time in Niigata is outside the official Japanese cut for selection. 

The Japan federation is due to clarify its selection stance at the end of the final session in Niigata tomorrow, sources at the meet tell us.

The men's backstroke dash went to 2009 100m world champion Kunya Koga in 25.12 ahead of Ryosuke Irie, on 25.24, the bronze going to Junya Hasegawa, on 25.52.

In other action, Asami China took the 800m freestyle in 8:38.31, while Haruka Uede claimed the 100m free crown in 55.29, 0.14sec ahead of Miki Uchida, Misaki Yamaguchi and Yayoi Matsumoto under 56 for the best chance of 4x100m free world-titles selection. The women's 200m medley saw Kanako Watanabe pip Miho Teramura 2:12.61 to 2:12.89, confining Miyu Ohtsuka to bronze in 2:13.16.