LumaLanes Performance of the Week: Ippei Watanabe Breaks World Record

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Photo Courtesy: Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports

World records in January are few and far between, as are world records following an Olympic year. Many of the best swimmers from this summer are using the beginning of the quadrennial to change up their training, capitalize on endorsement deals or simply take a break. And that makes Ippei Watanabe’s performance this weekend so notable.

Swimming at the 2017 Kosuke Kitajima Cup in Tokyo, Japan, the 19-year-old swimmer broke the world record in the 200 breast, becoming the first man in history to break 2:07 when he touched the wall in 2:06.67. Watanabe had a breakout summer, qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and setting an Olympic record in the semi-finals (2:07.22) before falling short of the podium in the final, where he finished sixth. Flash forward five months later, and Watanabe is now the world record-holder and an early challenger to watch in this next Olympic quad.

The Japanese have had a history with the 200 breaststroke world record. The old record of 2:07.01 was held by Watanabe’s countryman Akihiro Yamaguchi back in September of 2012, which coincidentally was also shortly after the Olympic Games. And Watanabe’s performance came at a meet named after Kosuke Kitajima, who has held the world records in the 100 and 200 breaststroke and won back to back Olympic golds in both events in 2004 and 2008. With the 2020 Olympic Games scheduled for Tokyo, Watanabe is bound to have his sights set on going even faster to set himself up as the favorite for gold at his home country’s Olympics.

Congratulations Ippei Watanabe on earning Swimming World’s Performance of the Week!

Special Thanks to LumaLanes for sponsoring Swimming World’s Performance of the Week.

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