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Thu Apr 24 08:54:26 SAST 2014

Yamaguchi wants to emulate Kitajima after record swim

Reuters | 16 September, 2012 12:370 Comments
Japan Swim 2012 - Day 4
Akihiro Yamaguchi of Japan competes in the mens 200m breaststroke semifinal during day four of the Japan Swim 2012 at Tatsumi International Swimming Pool on April 5, 2012 in Tokyo, Japan
Image by: Adam Pretty / Getty Images

Japan’s new breaststroke sensation Akihiro Yamaguchi has set his sights on emulating four-times Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima after breaking the 200 metres world record on Saturday.

The teenager swam a time of two minutes 7,01 seconds at Nagaragawa Swimming Plaza in Gifu Prefecture to beat the mark of 2,07,28 which Daniel Gyurta of Hungary recorded to win 200m breaststroke gold at the London Olympics.

“I am looking forward to next year’s world championships,” the 18-year-old schoolboy world junior champion told the Kyodo news agency after his record swim.

“I want to be a successor to Kitajima-san, a swimmer I look up to. I think I can cut it in the 200 at the world level and want to challenge in the 100, too.”

Kitajima, who will be 30 next Saturday, completed the 100 and 200 metres breaststroke double at the Athens and Beijing Olympics but finished outside the medals in both events in London.

Yamaguchi narrowly missed out on a trip to the Olympics but had already marked himself out as a talent to watch by clocking faster times in winning last month’s Japanese high school championships than Kitajima managed in London.

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