More Sports / Swimming

Rikako Ikee rewrites national 100-meter freestyle record

Kyodo

Teenage sensation Rikako Ikee slashed 0.24 second from her national record in the women’s 100-meter freestyle on Sunday at the Kosuke Kitajima Cup.

The 18-year-old Ikee clocked 52.79 seconds on the final day of the two-day meet at Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center. She set the previous record at April’s national championships.

The current world record, set by Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom last year, is 51.71 seconds.

“I didn’t think I’d push it this far,” said Ikee after breaking 53 seconds for the first time. “Up until 75 meters, I still had a lot in reserve.”

Her 50-meter split time of 25.84 was 0.25 faster than her record time at the nationals.

“I could have raced about another five meters,” she said.

Ikee shot to stardom by winning six gold medals at this summer’s Asian Games in Jakarta and will likely become one of the faces of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The long-course tournament, hosted by the Tokyo Swimming Association, is named after four-time Olympic gold medalist Kosuke Kitajima.