Japanese Swimming In State Of Self-Reflection After Disappointing Fukuoka Result – SwimSwam

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National record holder Shinri Shioura hit back at some of the failings identified by Japanese Swimming Federation coaches as to lack of Fukuoka results. Archive photo via Mike Lewis/Ola Vista Photography
Catch up on day three action of the 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games which saw sweeps by Scotland’s Matthew Ward and England’s Oscar Bilbao.
We had a full sitdown with Kyle Chalmers, the 2023 world champion in the 100 free, 400 free relay, and mixed 400 free relay.
Kyle Chalmers dichiara che le Olimpiadi di Parigi saranno le sue ultime olimpiadi, ma lascia aperta una porta per tutte le competizioni maggiori
While Kyle Chalmers said that the Paris 2024 Olympics will probably be his last, he also indicated that he would keep racing beyond those Games.
“Can you really complain about the 200 fly when you just swam Alcatraz?” asked Joe Zemaitis, the head coach of Swim Neptune in Phoenix, Arizona.
August 08th, 2023 Asia, International, News
The 2023 World Championships wrapped up with the host nation of Japan putting up its worse showing since the 1994 edition of the biannual event.
In Fukuoka, Japan reaped just two bronze medals, with Daiya Seto placing third in the men’s 400m IM while Tomoru Honda also finished third in the men’s 200m butterfly. Japan’s goal entering the World Championships was to earn at least 5 medals.
In a Championships which saw an incredible ten World Records fall, no new Japanese national records were set and, moreover, only four swimmers from the nation notched personal bests in their respective events. Swimmers on the whole were slower than the times they produced at the Japan Championships in April, the sole qualification meet for Fukuoka.
With the likes of Ryosuke Irie, Reona Aoki, Katsuhiro Matsumoto and more in its arsenal, the nation is internally dissecting what went wrong to render the nation 17th out of 18th in the overall swimming medal table.
Opinions swirling around coaching circles include the possibility of too much time between the aforementioned Trials and the actual World Championships event.
Other points of discussion are the lack of international racing experience for the majority of the national team, as well as the limited spectatorship allowed at past competitions, including the Tokyo Olympic Games, due to COVID-19 measures.
Yet another train of thought includes athletes focusing on their own individual training and performance rather than aligning themselves with a cohesive overall team focus. (Yahoo Japan)
One of Japan’s head coaches at the competition, Takashi Yokoyama, said this week, “The athletes, who had experienced racing without spectators all this time, were overwhelmed by the full crowd and cheers.”
Regarding the lack of racing internationally, several key Japanese athletes raced at this year’s Mare Nostrum Tour, including Matsumoto, So Ogata and Rikako Ikee.
Sprint ace Shinri Shioura hit back on some of these potential failings on social media this week. For one, he stated that he wanted to participate in racing overseas but was denied the opportunity by the Japanese Swimming Federation (JASF).
The 31-year-old national record holder stated, “After the selection meet in April, I negotiated directly with the head coaches until midnight saying that I would like to participate in European racing at my own expense in order to regain the feeling of an international race with an eye on Paris, but I was not allowed to enter. I didn’t get it.”
Shioura also says that he hopes to participate in this year’s World Cup Series but has yet to hear confirmation from the JASF.
28-year-old Chihiro Igarashi also responded to some of the internal criticism saying, “Ever since the Tokyo Olympics, the Japanese team has clearly lagged behind the rest of the world. I have been on the national team for about 10 years, but this year’s World Championships in Fukuoka is a pretty tough one.
“I think it’s because [the federation] no longer puts athletes first. If the players are dissatisfied, we cannot produce good results. They should listen to the players’ opinions more,” she said on social media.
According to sources, the Japan Swimming Federation is considering holding a meeting with athletes and staff in the near future to discuss how to strengthen the team. Look for additional updates as any details unfold.
— 塩浦慎理 Shinri Shioura (@shinri_shioura) August 6, 2023

— 五十嵐 千尋 (@Pink24guess) August 7, 2023


Ippei Watanabe and Shoma Sato have regressed massively in the last 2 seasons. Matsumoto hasnt been close again to his 1’44’65, Irie seems to struggle to peak when It matters most.. I dont really understand what is happening
I’d argue Watanabe has maintained
I was just happy that we got to see Rikako swim so many times. I kept thinking that it likely won’t be that way again.
She is not nearly as physically strong as her competitors. That was the glaring aspect. The leukemia impact and missing years of training caused her to fall well behind her peers.
Regardless, making a worlds final was a terrific accomplishment.
Having standards faster than national records seems to be the reason why the fully taper at trials and then becoming a non factor at the championship meet.
I’ll never understand why countries do this. To me the meer proposal of the idea should lose any official their job, it’s beyond insulting to the athletes in so many ways…
Utterly disconnected from reality, and then those same officials complain why isn’t the team meeting their expectations smh
I don’t think it’s too complicated to point out what’s wrong with the state of Japanese swimming.
– Ridiculous time standards, meaning that swimmers often fully taper psychologically/physiologically for qualification meets, leading them to be exhausted by the time their main competition is around
– Japanese bureaucracies in general, which are slow, stubborn, and outdated
I mean SwimSwam predicted them to win 2 medals, 1 Gold and 1 Bronze. It ended up being 1 Bronze. Disappointing? For sure, especially at home. But certainly not shocking.
Especially if you consider their age. The Japanese were probably the oldest team at the WC. Irie and Seto are great, but definitely beyond their prime.
And even the likes of Watanabe and Matsumoto are currently on their peak. They just lack the young guns a bit, those who could drop a lot of time in such a meet.
A lot of their swimmers are on the older side too so they might run out of gas at the end of the season from swimming so fast in season
It seems to me that they are too sharp at every meet and don’t have another gear when it counts the most!?!
They need some load management
Felt bad for Matsumoto after the 200 free swim off. He was really upset after not moving into the next round and hagino was consoling him afterwords. Hope next year in Paris he’s able to make a huge impact for Japan in several races.

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.
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