Atsushi Nishikori, a gold medalist in last fall’s Asian Games, broke Japan’s oldest swimming record in the semifinal of the men’s 100-meter backstroke at the swimming National Championships Thursday.

News photoAtsushi Nishikori reacts after breaking Japan’s oldest
swimming record in the men’s 100-meter backstroke.

The 24-year-old Nishikori clocked 54.54 seconds in the semifinal at Tokyo’s Tatsumi International Swimming Center to shave 0.51 second off the record Daichi Suzuki set when he won the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

In the women’s 1,500 freestyle final, Sachiko Yamada, Tuesday’s winner of the 400 meters, also set a Japanese record with a time of 16 minutes, 12.75 seconds on her way to victory.

In other finals, Takahiro Mori won the men’s 200-meter individual medley in 2:0.64 and Maiko Fujino won the women’s version in 2:16.32, while Takeshi Matsuda touched the wall first in the men’s 800-meter freestyle in 8:02.92.

Elsewhere, world record holder Kosuke Kitajima overwhelmed the field in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke semifinal by clocking 2:10.59 and advanced to Friday’s final. (Kyodo News)

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