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Irie comes close to world record

CANBERRA (Kyodo) Ryosuke Irie narrowly missed matching a world record to win the men’s 100-meter backstroke at the inaugural Canberra swimming meet against Australia on Saturday.

Irie powered home in a new Japanese record of 52.56 seconds at the Australian Institute of Sports, just 0.02 off the world mark set by American Aaron Piersol at last summer’s Beijing Olympics.

Irie’s time eclipsed the previous Japanese record of 52.87 set by Junya Koga at last month’s national championships in Shizuoka Prefecture.

It was the second time in recent weeks that Irie has flirted with a world record, having clocked 1:54.02 to win his third 200 backstroke title at the nationals. That time was just 0.08 second shy of the world record set by American Ryan Lochte in Beijing.

Meanwhile, Aya Terakawa, who won titles in three disciplines at the nationals, won the women’s 100 backstroke in 59.98.