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Suzuki Speeds To 2:22.99 Win In Nail-Biter

Apr 7, 2012  - Craig Lord

Japan Olympic Trials, Tokyo, Day 6 Finals: 

Satomi Suzuki clocked 2:22.99 a stroke ahead of a blanket finish for the second Olympic berth, Kanako Watanabe, 15, getting the touch in 2:23.56, while Ryosuke Irie confirmed his strength in the 200m backstroke with a 1:54.03 victory.

Race reports:

Women's 200m breaststroke

Satomi Suzuki clocked the fastest time ever by a Japanese woman in a textile suit, her 2:22.99 victory for a London 2012 ticket second best in the world so far this year behind the 2:22.73 clocked by Olympic champion Rebecca Soni (USA) back in January. 

On 2:23.56 for silver in a blanket finish for the second Olympic berth, Kanako Watanabe, 15, also raced inside the previous textile best in Japan, that standard having been held bat 2:23.79 by Rie Kaneto since 2010. Kaneto was joint third today in 2:23.83 with Fumiko Kawanabe. 

At the last turn, Suzuki was sill third, after Kawanabe had established a strong lead with a swift 1:08.88 first 100m. The leader maintained her place 1.5sec ahead of the chasing three, Watanabe starting to make her move, at the last turn before the pain of her early pace set in on the way home. Suzuki claimed victory off a last lap split of 35.58. 

The splits:

  • 32.94; 1:10.34; 1:47.41; 2:22.99 Suzuki
  • 33.58; 1:10.46; 1:47.17; 2:23.56 Watanabe
  • 32.85; 1:08.88; 1:45.88; 2:23.83 Kawanabe
  • 33.67; 1:10.35; 1:46.90; 2:23.83 Kaneto

The top four efforts in Tokyo follow Soni as world No 2, 3 and joint 4th so far this season. The cut of Olympic season is sharp. Suzuki's time is the fifth best ever in a textile suit, on a list headed at 2:20.54by Leisel Jones (AUS) ahead of Soni's 2:20.69, with Yulia Efimova (RUS), Amanda Beard (USA), ahead of the 2:22.99 at which the Japanese champion now shares the No5 spot with China's Qi Hui, whose effort was the world record when she clocked the time in 2001.

  • How Olympic season is shaping up: 
  • 2:22.73 Rebecca Soni (USA)
  • 2:22.99 Satomi Suzuki (JPN)
  • 2:23.56 Kanako Watanabe (JPN)
  • (2:23.83 Rie Kaneto JPN)
  • (2:23.83 Fumiko Kawanabe JPN)
  • 2:24.03 Tera van Beilen (CAN)
  • 2:24.54 Sun Ye (CHN)

Martha McCabe (CAN) leads three others inside 2:25.

Men's 200m backstroke

Ryosuke Irie fell 0.01sec shy of his season best to confirm his status at the helm of the world rankings with a dominant 1:54.03 victory ahead of Kazuki Watanabe, whose 1:56.83 also booked a ticket to the London 2012 Olympic Games. 

The bronze went to Yuki Shirai in 1:57.60, 0.16sec ahead of Hayate Maturbara, with two others on 1:58s, one on 1:59 and the last man home closing the final at 2:00.41. 

The depth of Japan's programme sets an example to most other leading swim nations but no doubting the difference between the quality that battled from the minor spoils and the man way out in front. 

Irie turned in 26.92 at 50m, 55.84 at the half-way mark, 1:25.27 at the last turn and brought his race home in 28.76. Irie clocked 1:54.02 back in January and now accounts for the best three performances in the world so far this year, his 1:56.16 from semi-finals yesterday having cleared the best of all the rest up to date.

How Olympic season is shaping up (two per nation):

  • 1:54.02 Ryosuke Irie (JPN)
  • 1:56.39 Ben Stasiulis (FRA)
  • 1:56.83 Kazuki Watanabe (JPN)
  • 1:57.10 Peter Bernek (HUN)
  • 1:57.15 Gareth Kean (NZL)

Eight other men have swum inside 1:58 so far this year.

Men's 200m medley

Kosuke Hagino, 17, clocked a national junior record of 1:58.01 to book a ticket to London 2012 for the Olympic short medley alongside Ken Takakuwa, second in 1:58.20, 0.63 ahead of Daiya Seto, with Yuya Horihata the last man home inside 2 minters, on 1:59.90.

Hagino's effort swept him to second on the world 2012 world rankings led by a wide margin by Olympic champion Michael Phelps (USA) on 1:56.32, while Takawura moved up to the No 5 in the world so far this season:

  • 1:56.32 Michael Phelps (USA)
  • 1:58.01 Kosuke Hagino (JPN)
  • 1:58.16 Joe Roebuck (GBR)
  • 1:58.19 Daniel Tranter (AUS)
  • 1:58.20 Ken Takakuwa (JPN)

James Goddard (GBR), Thiago Pereira (BRA), Seto and Jayden Hadler (AUS) are next in line under 1:59.

Women's 800m freestyle

Maiko Fujino,never led from soon after the 100m mark, clocked 8:31.30 for victory ahead of Asami Chida, on 8:35.12, with bronze going to Ayanao Koguchi in 8:40.02.


In the 100m butterfly, Takuru Fujii booked lane 4 for the final in 52.05 ahead of 200m winner Takeshi Matsuda, on 52.36, two others inside 53, the final closed with a joint 7th on 53.23.

In the women's 200m backstroke, Shiho Sakai clocked 2:09.61 as the sole sub2:10er through to a final sealed in 2:13.13.

In the freestyle dash semis, Haruka Ueda led the women through in 25.47, Kenata Ito the men in 22.34.