Rio Olympic bronze medalist Daiya Seto won the men’s 400-meter individual medley at the Asian swimming championships Thursday, while countrywoman Rikako Ikee renewed her own national record in the women’s 100-meter freestyle.
Seto kept his rivals at bay and touched the wall in 4 minutes, 10.17 seconds, about 5 seconds ahead of China’s Wang Shun and Mao Feilian at Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center.
“I wanted to go under 4 minutes, 10 seconds, but I was able to produce the minimum required result,” said Seto, who claimed to have pain in his shoulders and neck due to fatigue from training. “I was able to prove that I wasn’t in bad form.”
Ikee, an up-and-coming 16-year-old, shed 0.01 seconds off her previous mark to clock 53.68, and finished runner-up behind Zhu Menghui of China in the women’s 100 free. Chinese swimmer Shen Duo took third.
“I didn’t think I would be able to get a new Japan record,” said Ikee, who was entered in seven events at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August and made it to the final of the women’s 100 butterfly but ended in fifth place.
In synchronized swimming, Japan won the team technical routine final with 90.8705 points, while China came in second at 88.0251 and Kazakhstan third with 77.3042.
The members of the Japanese team had changed considerably from the one that won the bronze medal at the Rio Summer Games, which was the country’s first medal in the event since capturing the silver at the 2004 Athens Games.
“The team strength has fallen from the time of the (Rio) Olympics, but they were able to take a new step forward,” head coach Masayo Imura said.
Kei Marumo, who was a member of the Rio squad, said, “I am now in a position of leading the team but I couldn’t do my job that well.”
In the women’s 10-meter platform diving, Rio Olympian Minami Itahashi scored 332.65 points for a third-place result. China’s Si Yajie won with 366.70 and compatriot Lian Jie was second at 349.20.