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Kitajima returns with California win

Kyodo

Kosuke Kitajima won the 200-yard breaststroke at time trials in Long Beach, Calif., on Sunday in his first race since he failed to medal at the Asian Games last November.

The two-time double Olympic breaststroke champion clocked 1 minute, 53.44 seconds in the 25-yard pool, 0.41 slower than the time he posted in the same event last year.

“I swam pretty well,” Kitajima said. “I didn’t overexert myself. I was able to keep good balance and had a solid swim.”

At the Asian Games in China’s Guangzhou, Kitajima finished fourth in both the 50 and 100 meters before withdrawing from the 200 because of poor body condition.

The 28-year-old hopes to represent Japan at the world championships in Shanghai in July.

“I’m trying to give myself a sense of competing against the world’s top swimmers once again and then be prepared for next year’s Olympics,” Kitajima said.