Kosuke Kitajima kept alive his hopes for a fifth Olympic appearance by a hair, squeezing into the men's 200-meter breaststroke final at the national championships on Thursday.

Kitajima finished third overall in the semifinal heats with a 2 minute, 10.16 seconds to finish behind Ippei Watanabe (2:09.46) and Yasuhiro Koseki (2:09.98) at Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center. Kitajima was one of eight swimmers who clocked 2 minutes, 10 seconds, with two failing to advance to Friday's final.

For the former two-time double Olympic champion to make the cut for Rio de Janeiro, he must finish the final in the top two while meeting the qualifying standard of 2:09.54.