Kitajima, Tateishi, Kato qualify for Olympics


Japan’s two-time double Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima on Tuesday secured his fourth appearance in the Games, winning his qualifying race at the national swimming championships in Tokyo.
The 29-year-old set a new national record of 58.90 seconds, beating his own previous best of 58.91 to win the men’s 100-metre breaststroke ahead of Ryo Tateishi in 59.60 and Akihiro Yamaguchi in 1:00.66.
Tateishi also qualified for the London Olympics.
“I have a special feeling this time,” said Kitajima, adding that he had qualified with a “different feeling” than on the three previous occasions.
“Last year, I was very disappointed with my poor performance in the 100 metres, but I never gave up in the 100 metres this time. Younger swimmers have fired me up.
“I gained a lot of confidence as I bettered my personal best time, but it’s not enough to compete against the top swimmers in the world. I’ll do my best to improve further,” he added.
Yuka Kato also set a new national record of 57.77 to win the women’s 100-metre butterfly and qualify for the Olympics.
“I was calm and composed. I’m happy about it,” said the 25-year-old.
Nao Kobayashi narrowly missed the ticket to London, finishing second in 58.61, followed by Tomoyo Fukuda who was third in 58.88.