• Kyodo


Yuki Honda rewrote swim king Kosuke Kitajima’s Japanese record in the men’s 50-meter breaststroke heats at the National Swimming Championships on Saturday.

The 24-year-old Honda clocked 27.50 seconds at Hamamatsu Swimming Center, shaving 0.15 second off the mark previously owned by Kitajima, the two-time Olympic 100- and 200-meter breaststroke gold medalist.

“Both myself and Kitajima-san come from Tokyo’s Arakawa Ward and our homes are really close by. I’m happy to break the record of someone I respect,” said Honda.

In other races, Junya Koga came tantalizingly close to a world record for the second day in row as he set a new national mark of 24.59 in the men’s 50-meter backstroke, just 0.26 seconds off the world mark American Randall Ball set in the Netherlands last year.

Koga’s swim came a day after he had come within 0.33 seconds of American Aaron Piersol’s world record in the 100-meter backstroke final. His time in the 50 backstroke eclipsed Junichi Miyashita’s Japanese record by 0.67 second.

In women’s action, Nanaka Tamura (31.55) and Aya Terakawa (27.94) both set national records in the 50-meter breaststroke and 50-meter backstroke heats, respectively.

Ken Takakuwa delivered another turbo-charged swim to win the men’s 200-meter individual medley final with the world’s fourth fastest time ever on the penultimate day at nationals

Takakuwa added to the 400 individual medley crown he won Friday by shaving 0.98 seconds off his own Japanese record and touching the wall in a time of 1:57.24.

The Beijing Olympian topped the qualifying standard time for a place at this summer’s FINA World Swimming Championships in Rome, as did Takuro Fujii, who finished second in 1:59.09.

Elsewhere, Takeshi Matsuda matched his own national record time of 3:44.99 to win his sixth consecutive 400 freestyle crown, while Asami Kitagawa prevailed in the women’s 200 individual medley for the fourth year in a row, clocking 2:12.24.

A total of nine national records were set in the day’s non-Olympic 50-meter events.

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