Shinji Higashijima, FINA Press Correspondent in Japan

The Nationals 2010-Japan Masters Swimming ended successfully at the Tokyo-Tatsumi International Swimming Complex on July 19, 2010. Incredible but true, nearly 7,000 swimmers took part in the championships. Twelve new world records were established; ten in individual events and two in relays. Mieko Nagaoka, 96 years old, broke the world record, timing 2:36.01 in the women’s 50m breaststroke in the category 95-99 years old. After she finished the race, she looked happy, wearing a broad smile.

The 50m freestyle was the most-competed event of the Masters. In all, 2,700 swimmers – women and men – races; this took a little more than four hours. During the four-day competition, more than 20,000 spectators came to cheer on their favourite swimmers. Yoshihiko Osaki, President of the Masters Swimming Association, chaired the award ceremony rewarding the 16 swimmers that have swum for a consecutive 20 years and the 161 swimmers who have swum for 10 years in-a-row, held at the starting area of the pool before the final on the first day of the championships. Mr. Osaki celebrated each swimmer’s accomplishment with a nice plate in front of the admiring crowd.

In open waters, 35 men and 5 women swimmers took part in Japan Open Water Swimming Nationals at Tateyama-Hojyo Beach in Chiba, not far from Narita International Airport, Japan, on July 18, 2010. Water conditions were fine but swimmers struggled with strong wind. Yumi Kida won the women’s 10km event in 2h16m45s while Kosuke Akimoto took the men’s title timing 2h12m58s.
They were strongly congratulated by the crowd on the beach. This is Kida’s and Akimoto’s first victory in the 10km event at this level.