Japan’s Kosuke Hagino Set To Bow Back Into Racing After Accident Elbowed 2015 Season

Japan's Kosuke Hagino  by Patrick B. Kraemer]
Japan's Kosuke Hagino by Patrick B. Kraemer]

Kosuke Hagino, the japanese ace who broke an elbow on training camp in the lead-up to world titles last year and had to skip the big meet, will make his comeback to racing at the Kosuke Kitajima Cup in Tokyo this weekend. We take a look at the return of a man of medley might

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Bad Anon

I hope the time out allowed his management team to come up with a streamlined program of events for him 200/400IM and maybe 200freestyle; limiting individual events increases chances for individual gold ; Hosszu in Kazan 100/200back, 200/400 IM, 200free, 200fly and “just” 2 golds and a bronze in returns. Something for Hagino to think about

Craig Lord

Yes, all the more important in Olympic year, too

aswimfan

Best schedule for Hagino:

400 IM (day 1)
200 free (day 2 and 3)
4×200 free (day 4)
200 IM (day 5 and 6)

Just forget about backstroke, 400 free, and 4×100 free.

for33

I understand the importance of carefully selecting Mr. Hagino’s individual races. But I really hope that he participates in Japan’s 4x200m freestyle relay team. It’s somewhat frustrating that Australia and Japan can’t seem to win this race, given the strength of their teams. Australia, Japan, and Great Britain in the olympic podium would really be awesome.

aswimfan

for33,

As I have shown above, the schedule for 4×200 suit perfectly if Hagino decides to swim it.

And one of Australia, Japan and GB will have to miss the podium because, bar DQ or not qualify, USA will finish in the top 3.
2014 Pan Pacs was when all four Japanese 200 freestylers swam as fast as they were expected, and it will be very hard to repeat that, especially since Matsuda has retired.

for33

aswimfan: as per your suggested schedule, indeed there would be a great possibility for Mr. Hagino to avoid overlaps and swim the 4x200m freestyle relay race. I am well aware of the strengths of the US in this relay, as well as of the strengths of China, Russia, and even Hungary and France. I just think it’s high time that countries other than US begin to dominate this relay. Nothing against the US; I just want to see progress and variety. Mr. Daiya Seto swam this relay in the Asian games and, if memory serves, he was second (behind Mr. Hagino) in the 200m freestyle in Japan’s 2015 trials. I think Mr. Seto’s best time is 1:47 low, probably comparable to Mr. Masuda’s time in the relays in the last PanPacs and Asian games.

paolo rubbiani

@for33: Usa without a medal in the men’s 4×200 free relay at Olympics? No chanches it happens. A lackluster performance at last year Worlds was good enough for a silver, “almost gold”, medal.
So, Usa squad remains the strong favorite for Rio.
In my opinion, Australia could have a great potential if its major players would be in good/great shape when it counts. The Aussie “dream team”: McEvoy, Fraser-Holmes, Larkin (I’m sure he’ll be capable of a 1.45 leg at Rio) and Horton (he was already capable of a 1.45 relay-leg at 2013 Dubai Junior Worlds…).
This would be a “7 minutes flat quartet” but, unfortunately, there are question marks about Horton, yes, but above all if Australia as a team may perform well at the main event.
In the past this didn’t happen, but..never say never 🙂

Bad Anon

What makes relays exciting is that mystery factor of which swimmers will rise and who will crack ; Maggie the missile was defused by Adrian at London 2012 throwing off Aussies off the podium (prohibitive favorites on paper then). Thorpe failed to run down Klete Keller on anchor 800get Athens ’04… USA women lost 800frr in Beijing when Aussie women had a perfect day in the pool. Only in Kazan four ‘average’ Chinese women did their part to beat out SWEDEN(surprise) , Australia and USA (no medal )… Thats the magic if Olympic relay swimming, what I’d simply call the mystery factor….

Iain

The 4x200m medals will got to three of: AUS, FRA, GBR, JPN, RUS, USA, with a slight possibility of CHN

USA, followed by AUS, have the best chance of being there due to their strength in depth, but there is no guarantee the US will be there. While they are the favourites, this is unlikely to be a vintage year for the US (men’s) 4x200m.

commonwombat

The 2015 US M4X200 was probably the weakest in the last 15 years and still only lost narrowly. Whilst I doubt the Rio line-up will be a “premiere vintage”, they will be a step up from Kazan and barring self destruction via break, they have to be seen as prohibitive favourites.

Minor medals look to be a lottery and impossible to call until we see who’s swimming well for which countries …. and who isn’t. GBR should be certainly be thereabouts but I suspect a number of the European relays that were “off” in Kazan will be far more switched on this year.

Paolo, I’d love to know where you conjured a 1.45 200free split for Larkin from and on what basis ? This AUS relay did sneak bronze in Kazan but realistically would need to lift exponentially to medal in Rio ….. and the depth of talent is debateable as is the consistency.

aswimfan

Commonwombat, if all mcEvoy, mckeon, Fraser-Holmes, Horton or Smith swim anywhere near the best on the day, they should also challenge for gold.

But as we have witnessed in the past 3 or four years, the Aussie men 4×200 have truly underachieved. In every single meet, at least two of those swimmers swam well below of their capable of.

Will this streak continue in Rio, or will they finally be able to put everything together well?

France could be dangerous with timely revival of their freestylers. Agnel, Stravius are getting back on their best.

USA with Phelps, Lochte, Dwyer and Rooney will be very strong favorites for gold.

Russia is hard to predict since it seems they don’t really swim that often in season so we don’t know about their current progress. But they always seem to have four balanced swimmers with Izotov and Lagunov to lead.

China depends too much on Sun Yang. But you know, with China, predictions are never easy. Who would have thought the Chinese w4x100 Medley would beat all of USA and Australia and Denmark and Sweden?

One thing is for sure: USA will be back on the w4x100 Medley podium now that they have better a shoal of 1:06 breaststrokers and 57low flyers to choose from than what they had in Kazan.
I think Manuel wil improve, and between Baker, Franklin (who I think will swim 100 back) they will be better than last year.

paolo rubbiani

@Commonwombat: Larkin’s performances are on a steady increasing curve, not only regarding backstroke.
At Victoria Open, just a few days ago, he performed a great double, considering the period of training: 1.59.3 in the 200 im (with a 27.6 on closing free-leg ) and 1.55.1 in the 200 back.

Well, considering everything:

1) Larkin is at least a 1.53.1 200 backstroker (his PB at Worlds Cup after the Worlds.., so very likely that he’ll swim faster at trials and Rio, we can assume at least a 1.52 mid)

2) He has good skills for free and good endurance, and that 27.6 split in the 200 im shows it.

3) A 1.52 mid 200 backstroker, with good skills for free, is almost sure that can swim a 1.45 relay leg.

commonwombat

ASW, it’s precisely that failure to put four competent, let alone excellent, splits together that fuels my scepticism. The best medal hope for any AUS male relay is the M 4XMED and that’s for minor coin only …. and contingent on a 47low/sub 47sec anchor leg passing others.

As stated previously, USA should be favourites but minors are a lottery as I expect a number of Euro 4×200’s that underperformed in Kazan will be much better in Rio. Even the US cannot afford to play games in the heats.

I’m still somewhat sceptical of the US WMXMED. Oh, they will most certainly be in the medal mix but this looks a face in five and that means two such contenders must miss out.

Whilst I agree that their BRS picture does look much sunnier, the other three legs still have major question marks and no clear evidence these legs will be SIGNIFICANT improvements on Kazan. Lots of maybe’s but that can be applied to their main competitors as well.

commonwombat

Paolo, there’s an awful lot of supposition and hazy conclusions based on little more than assumptions in your propositions.

There is a very convincing case to be made that Larkin’s 2015 advance was significantly aided by CUTTING the 200IM from his competition schedule and concentrating on backstroke.

I’m not reading anything into his 200IM at Vics as there is no guarantee he will swim it at Trials. Neither was it a PB and in any case, he’s unlikely to make the AUS QT in that event.

He’s a competent enough freestyler but his best relay split for 100free is about 49.1. Certainly not bad but that split isn’t going to “cut it” for the AUS M4X100 ! A 1.45 relay split is damned outstanding for a freestyle specialist let alone a back-stroker who has minimal freestyle racing pedigree !!

His early season form certainly does hint that he should at least be around his 2015 levels. Whether he can/will drop further time is something we cannot know, let alone how far.

paolo rubbiani

@Commonwombat: I was sure that your “notarial” response would have been like: “awful lot of supposition”, “hazy conclusions based on assumptions” etc etc
I think I know swimming reasonably well, and in my opinion Larkin has the skills to do what I wrote already at Rio2016, passing through the trials on April in Adelaide.
Then, certainly, I don’t know if he and his coach will try it or, instead, Larkin will prudentially concentrate all his efforts on backstrokes events.
About racing in the 200 im, it will be certainly a matter for the next quadriennial (ending at Tokyo2020), but a strong 200 free relay-leg (yes, I expect a 1.45) from Larkin, I’m pretty sure that is possible already at Rio.

commonwombat

Going by his 2015 program, and his success rate, it’s most likely that Larkin will concentrate on backstroke for Rio.

From 2011 through to 2014, he split his energies between backstroke and IM but at no stage has he ever came near the times/levels needed to be internationally competitive in that event.

Since ditching IM at 2014 CG, his career has taken off. Whilst this cannot solely be put down to this factor, the results sheets cannot be argued with.

There is, perhaps, some chance that he MAY pursue a spot on the M4X100 relay for Rio based on him throwing down a 49.1 anchor leg on the SPW club relay at Qld titles in December.

Your conjecture regarding his potential capabilities may, of course, be possible but there is just no evidence to hand that he has any interest in pursuing the 4×200. I repeat, there just isn’t any evidence, not even a 200free heat swim at any meet of significance.

As for anything post Rio, who is to know what may happen. He is in a relationship (which appears to be harmonious with another prominent AUS swimmer – from another club) and who knows what they may decide post Rio.

This is his 2nd Olympics and he appears to be hitting his peak. If successful, he may decide to get out whilst on top and concentrate on his studies.

aswimfan

I agree with commonwombat, I hope Larkin just concentrate on swimming 100/200 backstroke, and forget about any other event, even if it’s a relay, even though the 4×200 schedule is in the day between 100 and 200 backstroke.

Last year demonstrated that he could be very very successful if he swims only those two events.

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