Seto beats Hagino in 400 IM at Japan Open


Daiya Seto again earned bragging rights over Kosuke Hagino in the men’s 400 individual medley, beating the Rio gold medalist on Saturday at the Japan Open after beating him at April’s national championships.

Seto, the Olympic bronze medalist in Brazil, won in 4 minutes, 10.18 seconds at Tatsumi International Swimming Center. Hagino settled for third in 4:11.53. Seto was 0.26 second faster than in Nagoya, where he edged his rival by a hundredth of a second.

The race got off to a slow start but Seto made sure he was ahead after Hagino’s favorite backstroke. The time was nowhere near his target of new a national record below 4:06.00, but Seto took positives out of the race ahead of the world championship this summer in Budapest, where he eyes a third straight win.

“I didn’t break 4:10, but winning boosts my confidence,” Seto said. “I was leaving a little too much in the tank in case others closed the gap on me (in the breaststroke and freestyle). Right now I’m just going through the birth pains.”

Hagino said, “It’s miserable to keep producing unsatisfactory results. I’m a weak person and begin to worry about many things when my form dips like now.”

World record holder Adam Peaty won the men’s 50 breaststroke in 26.94. Japan’s Yasuhiro Koseki was second, 0.50 back but pleased with a time he believes is good enough for a worlds podium finish.

“I was targeting the national record and overstrained myself. Peaty is pretty fast and gives me motivation,” Koseki said.

Rikako Ikee, who won five events at the nationals, couldn’t improve on her national records, but won the women’s 50 butterfly in 25.87 and the 100 free in 54.57 to add to her 200-free title from Friday.

“It’s not bad. I’m racing the way I imagine,” said the 16-year-old.

Yui Ohashi won the women’s 400 IM in 4:36.48, with Sakiko Shimizu finishing second.

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