Irie denies Hagino’s bid for six titles in Japan nationals


London Olympic silver medalist Ryosuke Irie stopped Kosuke Hagino’s bid of winning six titles in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke in Japan’s national swimming championships on Sunday.

Irie, also the 100m bronze medalist in London, clocked one minute 55.50 seconds, beating Hagino into second in 1:56.11.

“My time was so slow. I think Hagino was not satisfied with it as well, but my real competition is this summer. Since I couldn’t do well in the 100 meters, everybody told me to do well in the 200. That motivated me,” said Irie.

It was Irie’s seventh straight national title in the distance.

On Saturday, Hagino rewrote a national record of five titles by winning the men’s 200m individual medley in a new national record time of 1:55.74.

“My time was not so fast at all. I’m not satisfied. I had thought it would not be so hard to swim six races, but I was tired and this is the result. I learned a lot this week,” said Hagino, 18.

World record holder Akihiro Yamaguchi, 18, who timed a new mark of 2:07.01 in September, duly won his first national title with the men’s 200m breaststroke in 2:09.31.

“It was the first time for me to take part in the national championships and I felt it was tough. I lost to Kosuke (Kitajima) by three hundredths of a second in the 100m and my time was so bad,” said Yamaguchi.

“I didn’t know if I would do well today, but I cut the 2:10.00 for the first time in a long time. Japanese swimmers have done very well in this category, so I must follow them,” he added.

In other races, Olympic 200m bronze medalist Natsumi Hoshi won the women’s 100m butterfly in 58.53, beating defending champion Yuka Kato, while Shinri Shioura marked a new national record of 22.03 to win the men’s 50m freestyle.