Kosuke Hagino Checks Into Olympic 400IM On 4:08; Rikako Ikee Flies To 57.5NR

Kosuke Hagino - plenty to shout about - by Patrick B. Kraemer
Kosuke Hagino - plenty to shout about - by Patrick B. Kraemer

Kosuke Hagino roared to a 4:08 victory in the 400m medley on the opening day of Japanese Olympic trials in Tokyo today, while Rikako Ikee cracked the national 100m butterfly record when she booked a ticket to lane 4 for the final in 57.55.

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aswimfan

I was expecting a 4:07 from Hagino and a sub 4:10 from Seto. I am hoping they save the best for Rio.

Rikkako Ikee seems to be the real deal and hopefully she can keep improving and have longer career than another young Japanese flyer, Ayari Aoyama. Can’t wait to see her 100 free.

59 swim by Kitajima is another confirmation that he is indeed the greatest male breaststroker I’m history.

TommyL

With all respect due to Kosuke Hagino I was expecting something a little bit faster. But on the other side I understand that he does not need to be eg. 4:06 at this point.
This expectation is probably based on the fact that we have been seeing 1:55 and 4:08 for some time now.
So if I see a 4:08 by eg. Chase Kalisz, Tayler Clary or David Verazsto I would consider it as a great time.
If I see a 4:08 next to Kosuke I “only” consider it as a good time.

aswimfan

Well, the thing is, Hagino already swam 4:07 two years ago while having to swim a much busier schedule. And he swam 4:09 this morning.
So, it’s understandable that we expected to see a 4:07 at least.

Eugene

Wow, didn’t know Kitajima is still in the game. Great time.

ThereaLuigi

Ha, we were just talking about it in regard to Sarah Sjostrom and we have here another example of an excellent butterflier who also shines at freestyle. With the difference that she is a teen and on the path to maturity. I, like ASW, can’t wait to see Ikee’s 100 free.

As for Hagino: I haven’t seen the race but is it possible he deliberately swam a slow last 100? 1 minute is a lot for him.

aswimfan

I wasn’t thinking that he’d slow down, but now that I’m thinking about it, you could be right. He might have slowed down seeing as there’s a huge gap between he and Seto.
It’s a good strategy for him, why expend too much energy on the first day when he was already assured of winning and qualifying first.

Dan smith

I have a feeling hagino deliberately slowed down as he war so far ahead. He took it out fast and was at about 1:57 Midway. So he has demonstrated that he can take it out fast but we also know two more things
That he can also close fast as he has the fastest last 100 free in the history of the 400IM ( a last 100 free of 55)
That he has endurance as he has a pb of 3:43:90 in the 400 free and consistently swims in the 3:46 range or faster.
I think he could go faster in Rio but I don’t know how the night finals will affect everybody.

Yozhik

@ThereaLuigi. I have no feeling of what is the best age to succeed in competitive swimming for the Far East women. Look at the ranking of top 20 swimmers at 100 fly provided by swimvortex and check the age. Who are under 20? CHN and JPN. It looks like ” the path to maturity” is the path on death row for them. Do we know East Asian women who were at their prime at their twenties.?

ThereaLuigi

Mmm. I would not know that Yozhik. Maybe they move onto other things in life in their adulthood. But really I am out of my depth here.

ThereaLuigi

On a different note, Japanese swimmers are always so technical. Really, they must put a lot of emphasis on form with age groupers. On average I think they are the most technically refined in the world.

aswimfan

Not restricted to the femaleswimmers, Japanese swimmers both male and female usually reached their peak earlier. Since many promising young Japanese swimmers come down to Australia to compete, just look at the list of all comers records of Australian age records: many are Japanese, including one record by Kosuke Hagino who smashed 4:03 in 400 free as 13 yo, even faster than Ian Thorpe did at the same age (but of course Thorpe made the quantum leap at 14 yo).

Akihiro Yamaguchi set the current 200 breast WR at the age of 17.
There are many more Chinese and Japanese swimmers on the list of Junior world record holders than on the senior ones.

So, probably Asians (or at least east asians) reached maturity at younger age than caucasians?

aswimfan

“Do we know East Asian women who were at their prime at their twenties.?”

Aya Terakawa set her PBs (and won Olympics bronze in 100 back) in 2012 at the age of 27.

Lu Ying is still going strong at the age of 27 (she won Olympics silver in London at the age of 23 and won a few medals last year in Kazan at the age of 26).
Liu Zige is 27, not at her prime, but she’s still swimming and we’ll see what she will swim later this week in 200 fly.

Yozhik

It could be a combination of both biological and cultural factors. Not far ago many American girls stop competing after graduating college despite being at peak form. Professional career and family were more important. Now when there is some opportunity to earn money by swimming we see more mature swimmers in competition.

Yozhik

Thanks aswimfan. So the pattern that I though I was observing is not the pattern at all. No reason to separate these swimmers in specific group distinguished by age feature.

Charles wang

@Yozhik ,sarah sjostrom won the world champion in 2009,while she was only 16

Craig Lord

Yes, Charles – but also worth noting that 7 years on she’s faster than she was there and each season had brought small gains, for the most part: a long and steady journey from very fast youth to podium-chaser in senior waters along the course of two Olympic cycles.

aswimfan

Ok, I’m calling it:

Hagino will swim 4:06 to win 400 IM in Rio.

Minor medals is still very murky to predict, have to wait until the US trials.

Charles wang

@Craig Lord :sarah sjostrom is a genius,many swimming fans are looking forward to the RIO Olympics to see the competition between she and Campell sisters in 100 and 50 freestyle,and she has no competitive opponent in 100 butterfly。

Yozhik

Charles in no way I wanted to make this discussion racial. We all are here in “prediction business ” 🙂 Luigi mentioned “the path to maturity” as something that promises to bring even more spectacular races by Rikako Ikee. I ran a quick research ( to quick to be conclusive 🙂 ) to check how accurate such supposition could be. That’s about it. We have plenty of cases at any races of early development, peaking at 16-18 (Franklin can be the case as CW suggested) and great performances at late twenties. But the average pattern can exist and it will be nice to be aware of it analyzing prospective of particular swimmer. I hope you’ve inderstood me correctly.

aswimfan

Sarah Sjostrom is indeed a swimming genius. Currently the female swimmer with most swimming talent aside from Ledecky.

Yozhik

When the ‘the genius’ or ‘the greatest’ talks begin I am always wondering what the criteria are. How come let say Cate Campbell with her world records in 50&100 is not a genius but Sjostrom is. It looks like we value versatility more then super achievement in pure feature.
If it’s so then why there is no competition in such valuable human ability. Why not to have a competition in sprinting set (50 and 100) where swimmers earn points correctly adjusted for each distance. All these discussions about Manaudou, Morozov,etc will get resolved automatically . Or similarly designed other type of competitions that will measure human ability in versatility. Instead of competeting in such very natural and important ability we designed some very strange and very artificial races like IM. If such strong desire exist to compare swimmers with their skills in different strokes then make it at least fairly adjusted. Let them swim each stroke independently. Equalize time of different strokes with the set of coefficients and determine the winner by results of such four races. What we have now is ridiculous. Not only the skillfulness in some stroke can have unfair advantage or disadvantage the order of strokes influences the contribution of each stroke to the final result in a great deal. Change this order for the same swimmer and you will be surprised how different the outcomes will be. The more I am thinking about this competition the more weird and artificial it looks to me. And people call it competition in versatility. Come on. Measure a real natural one but not this crap of someone’s sick imagination.

Craig Lord

Lots to look forward to Charles – and the competition will be wider than the 3 fast swimmers you mention 🙂

Craig Lord

It is all a question of perspective, Yozhik and many comparisons, as you suggest, are entirely artificial and of little worth. There is a saying in English ‘jack of all trades, master of none’. That does not apply to the versatile swimmers who make a success of their versatility, of course, but hard to define ‘genius’ in sport from one successful swimmer to the next. In terms of event numbers and versatility, such things don’t compare to outstanding single-event success – one is not better than the other, just different. It seems churlish to me to suggest Mary T or Janet E has the edge of swimming ‘genius’ over the other. Same for Thorpe Vs Phelps if we consider the outstanding qualities of each. Even so, there in the mix is that one, unique, example where versatility shines exceptionally bright and is indeed a manifestation of a form of specific genius: Phelps (similar might have been said of Spitz – and also that shooting star Gould, who shines just as brightly today in my eyes for the things she is about today, things that thrive in a quiet place beyond the glare of supertroupers but may well speak far louder to ‘genius’ than her winning what she won at Munich in 1972 when so young. Those 18 Olympic gold medals of Phelps’ compare to none for Sarah S, for example, but they hardly mean Sarah’s an aquatic dunce 🙂 So much that is intangible becomes more tangible with time. I think when dealing with ‘genius’ we must wait until the body of work is done and time has past for us to digest what it all meant, then then and after that for posterity and impact on the following waves.

felix

Plenty of readers on this site get carried away about trials swims when really on the USA & Australia need to be fully tapered and the Japanese male breaststrokers. Seto always swims his fastest 400im of the year when it counts & Hagino will have plenty left. I still think Lochte would be silly to bypass this event. Its his only realistic chance of individual Gold.

Rafael

Felix, Locthe swam a 400 IM, but he went 4:12 and was so tired that he could not even get out of the pool, and he will need a 4:12 4:13 on the morning to final, don´t think his body will be able to take 2 rounds of punishment

Craig Lord

Much getting carried away out there, FelixDP, though I think there are far less getting carried away on this site than elsewhere – some of it is just too alarming to look at 🙂 … beyond that, not quite true that only those 2 nations need to be fully tapered… others have time targets that absolutely demand they taper, even if they are the only one capable of getting to the time, while there are pockets of competitiveness greater beyond USA and AUS that need to be acknowledged. Men’s British breaststroke, for example; and French sprint freestyle in the 100m, just as tough as elsewhere among the best, even if that does not apply in most events in France, of course. Those French sprinters had to taper just to make the time cut, let alone get a top 2 slot.

ThereaLuigi

Yozhik, so many things are arbitrary. Distances for example: who ever decided they had to be multiple of 50 metres? Dont you think result would be different if they were multiple of other meaures? And why the men 800 free is not an Olympic event? And what about dives, should they be there or should races be started from water level to replicate natural conditions? Manaudou would not be who is without his dives. And again, underwater limit: why just 15? Lochte or Coughlin would have dominated for years if they let them swim underwater as long as they saw fit. Or the order of races at the Olympics … Why 400 Im and 400 free so close, and so on… i could go on for ages. So as you see everything is arbitrary, you do what you can with the given conditions. It so happens that someone thought lets see the best swimmer in a race that entails swimming all strokes and someone else decided the order. i think it’s interesting. You dont and you are of course entitled to your opinion, but complaining about the arbitrariety of it all is missing the point IMHO.

Yozhik

Luigi, I am not complaining about arbitrariety ( mostly because I can not pronounce this word 🙂 ) But when I see so much of this ( whatever you call it) in one event I am beginning to think that those who designed IM event were really drunk. Let make some change in the order: BR-BK-FR-BU and iron lady will join Ye in her misery. No, I am wrong, those people were not drunk enough. Because if they were they would thought out something even more arbitrary but funnier like letting swimmers swim strokes in arbitrary order ( whatever fit them better). That would be indeed entertaining to watch and by the way would be more fair.

gheko

Age is irrelevant look at Dara Torres, the mind is the key, age is just a number!

Yozhik

Where is Dara now, gheko? Is she out of her mind 🙂 Just kidding. Sure the nerve system ( I.e. mind) is on the top of all other biological systems that determine athletic performance. I’m strongly right-hand person. Can throw the ball very far with right hand. With the left one it will be only a few yards. Same muscle fiber, same endocrine system, everything is the same, just brain is wired differently for left arm.

aswimfan

I agree with Rafael.

I don’t think Lochte’s greatest chances -relatively speaking- for gold is in 400 IM.
I think 200 IM is better. Sure, there is Phelps in 200 IM and that makes the competition much more fierce, but I believe Lochte can still swim 1:54 in 200 IM (he won the event in Kazan pretty easily) and if Phelps doesn’t go sub 1:54 in Rio, Lochte still has the chance if winning it.

Meanwhile I don’t think Lochte has another 4:05-4:06 in him, which I believe is necessary to win 400 IM. Lochte has not trained for 400 IM since 2013, and you can see what happened if you haven’t trained specifically for it for 3 years: Phelps in 400 IM IN 2012 London. And we are talking about Phelps, and who was 5 years younger than Lochte us now. Phelps was able to get by qualifying in the US trials but when he had to swim two rounds of maximum swimming in London, he faltered.

This does not Lochte shouldn’t try 400 IM. He should. If anything because it’s on the first day and he doesn’t have anything else on the day. He should drop 200 back though. It was not wise to attempt 200 back/IM double golds in London, it won’t be wise in Rio.

aswimfan

“Because if they were they would thought out something even more arbitrary but funnier like letting swimmers swim strokes in arbitrary order ( whatever fit them better). That would be indeed entertaining to watch and by the way would be more fair.”

IIRC, there were some meets in Australia where swimmers are allowed to swim IM in whichever order they prefer.

KeithM

Personally, I think Lochte would be smart to avoid the 400IM in Rio because it’s on the opening day just as it was in London. If it was on the back end of the meet there would be less risk. What he may do is swim it at trials for a test run before he decides. It will be competitive for him because I think there a three guys with the potential to be under 4:10…Clary, Kalisz, and Prenot.

However, I don’t quite agree with Rafael re: Lochte’s 4:12 and him looking tired means that he’s incapable of being competitive. The very reason you discount him is the same reason others (including myself) are reconsidering him. Two things about that swim were surprising to me. First that he even swam it all. Second that he was that quick. A 4:12 is an unusually swift time for Ryan during training season. When he trained with Troy he regularly struggled to get under 4:20 in the grand prix meets…and he looked fairly destroyed after those races. Now I don’t think that he’s necessarily going to be as broken down training with Marsh as with Troy. However, he’s never been one to shirk hard work and if he doesn’t swim the 400IM it’s probably more to do with getting through the grind of a large meet than not having the training base to do a good 400IM time.

KeithM

Personally, I think Lochte would be smart to avoid the 400IM in Rio because it’s on the opening day just as it was in London. If it was on the back end of the meet there would be less risk. What he may do is swim it at trials for a test run before he decides. It won’t be a simple task for him because I think there a three guys with the potential to be under 4:10…Clary, Kalisz, and Prenot.

I don’t think Hagino’s time is too concerning if a bit adrift of his top speed. But Seto’s time is a bit worrying. The third place finisher was not much over a second behind him. I’m not sure I’d take the optimistic view that he swam a controlled unbothered anxiety free race just content to qualify. He does have plenty of time between now and August to get it right though.

Craig Lord

Not so, gheko… there are no 45 year olds ripping out world records, you’ll have noticed. Phelps has the money and freedom to go for another 15 years if he wants to… he won’t, mind AND BODY will not be able to do what he’s done. Age is indeed a number, yet significant, dates of birth and death among relevant matters 🙂

aswimfan

KeithM,

IIRC, as the current World Champion in 400 IM, Daiya Seto has already secured a spot in the Japanese Olympics team per their rule (similar to Sun Yang’s secure spot in the Chinese Olympics team). This may be a reason Seto was not too quick yesterday.

And Keith, why wouldn’t Lochte swim 400 IM if, as he proposed, he already had good training base for it? He doesn’t have anything on the first day. Also, I don’t think he will swim nearly as many events in Rio as he has in the past, so schedule and “getting through the grind of a large meet” shouldn’t be an issue at all.
For one, I doubt he will have to swim 4×100 free in Rio, and I have a feeling he will choose one of 200 IM or back to swim. Remember, in the past he attempted to swim individual 200/400 IM, 200 free, 200 back and all three relays.

aswimfan

CL,

Knowing Gheko, I think he was just kidding (or being sarcastic, pick whichever appropriate) about age is just a number.

Yozhik

@aswimfan:
Realy?! When joking I thought that I was the only one who pays attention to the fact that the order of strokes is important at IM race. Some swimmers can be very uncomfortable with the current one. I was wondering what considerations were taken into account when the existing order of strokes was chosen. If there were tiredness related considerations then 200IM and 400IM should be designed differently. Allowing swimmers to swim IM the way they prefer is a fair thing to do. However it will require more arbiters on the deck and that could be the reason not implementing this approach. It will make the competition tougher. But it will add some complexity for spectators to remember what strokes have left for each swimmer to swim. But it also adds some racing uncertainty because swimmer will not know in the middle of the distance if they are leading or trailing. And that will push them to swim strongly to the end of the race.

ThereaLuigi

Well, Yozhik, to begin with, the strokes are in impeccable alphabetic order when pronounced in Italian (delfino, dorso, rana, stile) which makes the right order easy to remember for Italian young age groupers (as long as they know the alphabet of course; God knows what they teach them in elementary school these days). 🙂

Ps If you really think Lochte has a chance to medal in this race at 31 years of age, you know something I dont

aswimfan

yeah,

I also don’t get the enthusiasm of people who are saying that 400 IM is Lochte’s greatest chance for gold just because there is a Phelps in 200 IM or just because he swam a one off 4:12 in season.

There is a reason why in London Phelps didn’t even medal in 400 IM but won gold in 200 IM, or why he lost in 200 fly but won 100 fly; or that Hackett is focusing on 200 free despite arguably being the greatest male 1,500 freestyler of all time.
Longer distances are not too friendly for older swimmers.
400 IM makes swimmers honest, you can’t fake it, not with two rounds of maximum swimming. It will show if you don’t specifically train in it for some years.

Craig Lord

Quite so, aswimfan – age is significant (and I don’t see that as a negative, it is just how nature works), regardless of how often anyone says otherwise and regardless of obvious and relatively rare cases of 27 and overs from the elite world excelling in the chase for ultimate prizes (rarely actually getting faster at that stage in their careers, and hardly ever in events 400m and over)

ThereaLuigi

In truth, Lochte is already an outlier, as he peaked in grueling events such as the 200 free and back and the 400 IM in the years 2011-2012, when he was already on the wrong end of his twenties. To ask of him to dominate in the 400 IM at age 31 is akin to asking for a miracle.

stabilo

I think Lochte should definitely not swim 200Back; and his best chance for gold is probably 200IM; and Hagino will probably win the 400; and Lochte should still do it. What other individuals will he be trying? 200Free? 100Fly?

Not sure whether London’s 400IM affected Lochte’s 4×100 Relay split – 47.7 is still pretty decent, and Agnel was just otherworldly – but maybe that is a consideration.

With mixed up IMs, what do you think? I think Fly must start, but would be tempted to switch Back/Brst (added bonus of Back-Free flipturn which must be faster). Or Back at the end for better breathing at the end of a gruelling race? (Fly-Brst-Back-Free order means I am several minutes in last place after the first half but it’s all good fun :))

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