More Sports

Matsuda books trip for Beijing

Kyodo News

Takeshi Matsuda won his fifth consecutive 400-meter freestyle title at the National Swimming Championships to earn a Beijing Olympic berth on Tuesday. Saori Haruguchi and Maiko Fujino also booked their spots in this summer’s Olympics by finishing first and second in the women’s 400 individual medley, while Athens Olympic 800 freestyle champion Ai Shibata took her third overall 400 crown but her time was not fast enough to secure her berth. Matsuda touched the wall in 3 minutes, 47.36 seconds, only 0.08 behind his own national record and well ahead of runnerup Shogo Hihara, who timed 3:51.13 at Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center. “I tried not to rush early in the race,” Matsuda said. “It’s a shame because I was looking to break my own record, but I’m glad that I’ve won a ticket to Beijing.” In the women’s 400 individual medley, Oregon State University junior Haruguchi finished in 4:38.94 and Fujino 4:40.14. In the women’s 400 freestyle, Shibata clocked 4:10.38, against a qualifying standard time of 4:08.43. In other action, double Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima advanced to the men’s 100-meter breaststroke final with a time of 59.66, just 0.13 behind his own national record.