NAGAOKA, NIIGATA PREF. – Kosuke Hagino made Japanese swimming history on Saturday when he became the first swimmer to win five titles at the national championships.
Hagino powered to victory in the 200-meter individual medley in a Japanese record time of 1 minute, 55.74 seconds on the third day of action at Daiei Probis Phoenix Pool, and also won the 400 freestyle in 3:45.42.
The 18-year-old took the 100 backstroke and the 200 freestyle on Friday, a day after banging out a new national record in the men’s 400-meter individual medley.
Hagino stunned the swimming world last summer when he finished behind gold medalist American Ryan Lochte and Brazilian runnerup Thiago Pereira, beating out Michael Phelps for the 400 medley bronze as the American swimming legend placed fourth.
Previously, two other swimmers, Tomoko Hagiwara and Takeshi Matsuda, have won four titles in the same national championships.
“I felt very good as I swam well in the first butterfly, so I just tried to swim firmly in the last freestyle,” said Hagino.
“I still have one more race to go. I’ll just concentrate on each race and try to do my best. I expect it to be a race against (world silver medallist) Ryosuke Irie. I’m determined to hang in there till the end,” he added.
In other action on Saturday, Aya Terakawa rewrote her own national record to win the women’s 50 meters backstroke.
Terakawa clocked 27.51, shaving 0.20 second off her previous mark. It was her second victory at the nationals after winning the 100 back.
“I got off to a very good start. I narrowly missed the national record yesterday and I was very disappointed, so I tried hard today. By improving my personal best, I will be able to prepare for the summer,” said Terakawa.
Junya Koga won the men’s 50 back in 25.12, 0.12 ahead of Ryosuke Irie.
In the women’s 200 butterfly, London Olympic bronze medalist Natsumi Hoshi won in 2:06.12, while Yuki Kobori beat Takeshi Matsuda to take the men’s 200 butterfly in 1:55.51.
Kanako Watanabe won the women’s 200 individual medley in 2:12.61, and Haruka Ueda won the 100 freestyle for the sixth straight year. Asami Chida took first in the women’s 800 freestyle.