Swimming

Matsumoto Katsuhiro busts own Japan record in men's 200 freestyle

2019 world silver medallist opens Games year and Kosuke Kitajima Cup with comfortable win in signature race.

By Shintaro Kano ·

World silver medallist Matsumoto Katsuhiro rewrote his own Japan record in the men’s 200-metre freestyle at the Kosuke Kitajima Cup on Friday (22 January).

Matsumoto cruised to victory in 1 minute, 45.13 seconds, shaving 0.09 off the old mark on the first day of the three-day meet.

The 23-year-old - the only Japanese, male or female, to have medalled in the 200 free at a world championships or an Olympic Games as he did in Gwangju in 2019 - finished almost four seconds in front of runner-up Mano Hidenari.

Coming off three titles at the national championships in December, Matsumoto said he has no plans to slow down in the Games year ahead of the Tokyo Olympic trials in April.

“My sights are set on the world so I can’t lose to anyone in Japan”, Matsumoto told reporters.

“I’m very happy with the result. I trained pretty hard around New Year’s and I think it’s paid off.

“I worked on my stamina so I wouldn’t slow down late in the race and I really felt the difference.

“My goal is to win a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. I’m going to push myself more than ever from here on”.

Matsumoto had won the race at the nationals in 1:46.10, when he also took the 400 free and 100 butterfly.

In other notable races on Friday, rising star Sato Shoma won the men’s 100 breaststroke (59.84) while three-time Olympic medallist Irie Ryosuke captured the 100 backstroke in 53.31.

Aoki Reona won the women’s 100 breaststroke in 1:06.94.