Relay Mercy For Kitajima As JPN Names 31
Apr 16, 2013 - Craig Lord
Quadruple Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima has made the selection list for world titles in Barcelona - but only for the medley relay after Japan eased a tough qualification policy by deciding to field a quartet in all relays at the FINA showcase from July 19 to August 4. There is no place for Takeshi Matsuda in solo freestyle events but his Olympic results guarantee him a place in the 200m butterfly.
The busiest and most-watched athlete on the squad will be another Kosuke, Hagino, 18 and scheduled to race in the 200m and 400m freestyle, the 100 and 200m backstroke and the 200 and 400m medley. He may also race in two relays.
The Japanese federation's selection policy was originally based on:
automatic selection in Olympic events for podium placers at London 2012
top two finish at nationals inside a time that is faster than the FINA A time
no selection for non-Olympic events
Points 1 and 2 are adhered to but the federation eased the standards in point 2 a touch after a meeting at the end of nationals to allow for a bigger team in Barcelona. Kitajima was still outside the time cut as winner of the 100m breaststroke but now makes the team based on his federation's wish to have quartets in all relays in Spain.
The Japan team stands at 31, 15 of them men, 16 women: