• Kyodo

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Daiya Seto crushed the field to capture his third consecutive men’s 400-meter individual medley title at the short-course world swimming championships on Saturday.

American Josh Prenot led through the first 100 meters of the race, but Seto went to the front during the backstroke leg and never looked back, clocking 3 minutes, 59.24 seconds to be the only swimmer to touch the wall inside four minutes.

“It was good I won the championship,” said Seto, who touched 3.74 seconds behind Ryan Lochte’s world record. “The time wasn’t quite as good, I lagged behind (Lochte’s mark) by bit throughout.”

Compatriot and fellow 22-year-old Kosuke Hagino won the gold medal in the event at the Rio Olympics, but Seto has won the last two world championships in the 50-meter pool and will have his sixth straight title over both long and short courses if he can win at next summer’s world championships.

“I have to work hard to get a sixth straight championship. I’ll put effort into the types of training that I hate during the offseason,” Seto said.

Britain’s Max Litchfield overhauled Prenot and Hungary’s David Verraszto to finish second with a time of 4:00.66. Verraszto finished third in 4:01.56. Japan’s other entrant in the race, Takeharu Fujimori, was seventh.

Japan’s men’s 4×50 medley relay team of Junya Koga, Yoshiki Yamanaka, Takeshi Kawamoto and Kenta Ito clocked a short-course national record time of 1:32.62 but it was only good enough for fourth place.

Tomomi Aoki, Chihiro Igarashi, Aya Takano and Rikako Ikee also set a short-course Japanese record but missed out on the podium, placing fifth with a time of 7:41.97 in the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay.

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