NARASHINO, Chiba Pref. (Kyodo) Aya Terakawa bashed out the world’s fastest time this season in the women’s 100-meter backstroke Saturday, winning at the 65th National Sports Festival with a Japan record of 59.13 seconds.
The 25-year-old Terakawa — likened by head coach Norimasa Hirai as the “Queen” to the “King” of Japanese swimming in Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima — chipped 0.01 second off the national record set by Shiho Sakai at the 2009 world championships.
“I was shocked,” Terakawa said. “At first, I wasn’t sure what the crowd was screaming about. I want to be the first Japanese to break 59 seconds in my next race.”