Kitajima takes second behind Tateishi in Japan Open race

Kyodo

Double Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima had to settle for a runnerup finish Friday as Ryo Tateishi won the men’s 100-meter breaststroke on the opening day of the Japan Open.

Tateishi touched the wall in 1 minute, 0.55 seconds at Namihaya Dome, 0.72 clear of Kitajima, who was sidelined for a chunk of last month after straining a groin-area muscle in his left leg at the start of the 200 at the national championships.

In-form Ryosuke Irie cruised to the men’s 100-meter backstroke victory in 53.11 seconds. Junya Koga, the reigning world champion in the discipline, slumped to eighth place.

In women’s action, Aya Terakawa won the 100 backstroke with a solid time of 59.35, while 14-year-old Kanako Watanabe took the 100 breaststroke title in 1:07.10, the fastest ever by a junior high school swimmer.

The three-day meet serves as a warmup event for the world championships in Shanghai in July.