Young talents make their mark at Japan Open

Federations News

Japanese young breaststrokers start making their mark on the international swimming scene, as seen at the Japan Open 2011 held in Osaka from May 20-22.

Kanako Watanabe made terrific progress among women’s breaststrokers. She's just 14, not big (163.5cm and 54.5kg) and still a junior high-school girl. In Osaka, she won three events: the 50m in 31.83, the 100m in 1:07.10 and the and 200m in 2:23.90.

Among men, Akihiro Yamaguchi, 16 and not big either (174cm and 65kg), clocked 1:01.70 and 2:12.54 in the 100m and 200m breaststroke, respectively. His kicking technique is excellent.

At the end of the meet, six boys and seven girls, among which Kanako Watanabe and Akihiro Yamaguchi, were selected for Japan's national junior team to go to the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Lima, Peru next August.

These young swimmers are eager to show their talent at the upcoming international event. Kanako Watanabe is young enough to be, someday, among the world's best. Her breaststroke technique is already very good. What she needs now is to increase her sprint speed with good starts and turns techniques.

Meanwhile, breaststroke ace Kosuke Kitajima also produced fine performances at the Japan Open: 1:01.27 in the 100m and 2.11.43 in the 200m. After the race, he congratulated Japan's young talents, Kanako and Akihiro: “They did great races. They are still young and improving. I really look forward to competing with them. They have a lot of talent to swim fast. Good luck to them!"

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