The Japanese Olympic Trials took place over eight days last week at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, the same venue used for the previous Olympic Games, and concluded on Sunday. Notably, Japan typically sets its qualifying times faster than the Olympic Standard Time set by the World Aquatics.

Image Source: Daiya Seto celebrates qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games after competing in the Men's 200m IM final (Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

The trials showcased a mix of experienced veterans and up-and-coming stars, with standout performances from teenage swimmers stealing the spotlight. In particular, 2-time Olympic gold medallist Yui Ohashi and experienced Olympic medallist Daiya Seto secured their spots on the team for both 200m IM in the final two days of the trials. They faced tough competition from young talented IMers. In the men’s 400m IM, 18-year-old Tomoyuki Matsushita became the first qualified swimmer of the trials surpassed Seto in the final stretch of the race recorded his personal best 4:10.04. 17-year-old Mio Narita won women’s 400m IM with the national high school record 4:35.40 and 20-year-old Ageha Tanigawa  clocked 4:35.60 wiped Ohashi out from the spot for this event.

Image Source: Adam Pretty/Getty Images

After men’s 200m IM Daiya Seto commented, “I’m really happy to see young swimmers improving in the individual medley, which I love, and since it's an event that Kosuke Hagino and I have competed in for a long time, I want to lead the way and pass it on to the next generation. I still want to compete on the front lines for now, though.”

Image Source: Yui Ohashi of Team Japan celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Women's 400m IM at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Also Yui Ohashi, relieved after qualifying for women’s 200m IM, stated, “If I hadn’t made the Olympic team, I would have considered retiring. I came here trying to do 100% of what I can. Over the past three years, there have been many moments where I felt like giving up on even trying to go to Paris, but with the support of the people around me, I've come this far.”

Image Source: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

One of the most inspiring races of the trials was Rikako Ikee's return to form after battling leukemia in 2020. Ikee, who competed at the Tokyo 2020 Games but only qualified for relay events, earned her place in Paris with a powerful performance in the 100m butterfly event, surpassing the qualifying time with 57.30. However, an even more excellent performance was made by 16-year-old Mizuki Hirai, who won the final with 56.91, and stated, “I'm happy to be able to join the Olympic team with Rikako Ikee who has been my swimming idol for a long time. I want to continue to improve my personal best so that I can win a medal at the Paris Olympics.”

Qualified for an individual event for the first time since Rio 2016, Ikee stated “The only word I can think of is happy. I'm surprised that I'm not crying. I’m getting faster than I expected in the first 50m, and I’m getting so strong that I can't control it. I need to build up the stamina to be able to keep the speed in the second half even if I attack in the first half.”

Another standout performer was veteran swimmer Satomi Suzuki, aged 33, who dominated the women's breaststroke events, securing spots in the 100m and 200m breaststroke for the world's most privileged sporting stage this summer. Suzuki's resurgence included updating her personal best marked last summer in Fukuoka for the first time in 14 years in 100m breaststroke, clocking an impressive time of 1:05.91, which was 0.02 ahead of Reona Aoki in the final.

Image Source: Feng Li/Getty Images

Former men’s 200m breaststroke world record holder Ippei Watanabe also made a notable comeback, securing a place in the Games with an impressive performance in his favorite 200m event. Watanabe, who missed out on the Tokyo 2020 team, brought back his strong strokes and clocked 2:06.94. Alongside fellow swimmer Yu Hanaguruma, a podium finisher at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest 2022, Watanabe aims to make an impact in Paris this summer and mentioned, “While I missed Tokyo Olympics, this will be my first Olympics in eight years since Rio 2016. The Olympic Games are a special place for me. I have a strong desire to win the Olympic gold medal, so I will do my best to make it happen.”

Image Source: Tomoru Honda of Team Japan reacts after winning the silver medal in the Men's 200m Butterfly Final on day five of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Other noteworthy swimmers who earned spots on the Olympic team include Tomoru Honda, men's 200m butterfly World Champion in Doha 2024, who faced tough competition from rising star Genki Terakado who won the race with his personal best 1:54.07, and Katsuhiro Matsumoto, who excelled in multiple events securing spots in the 200m freestyle clocked 1:45.29 and 100m butterfly with 50.96. Airi Mitsui, Fukuoka 2023 finalist in women’s 200m butterfly, won the respective event improving her personal best to 2:06.54. These swimmers are poised to showcase Japan's swimming prowess on the global stage in Paris this summer.

Image Source: Men's 200m Individual Medley Final action during day the Swimming Olympic Qualifier at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan. (Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

Japan National Team for the Paris 2024 Olympics


Individual Events

  • Katsuhiro Matsumoto (200m Freestyle, 100m Butterfly)
  • Hidekazu Takehara (200m Backstroke)
  • Ippei Watanabe (200m Breaststroke)
  • Yu Hanaguruma (200m Breaststroke)
  • Naoki Mizunuma (100m Butterfly)
  • Genki Terakado (200m Butterfly)
  • Tomoru Honda (200m Butterfly)
  • Daiya Seto (200m IM)
  • Tomoyuki Matsushita (400m IM)

Relay Events

  • Konosuke Yanagimoto (4x200m Freestyle Relay)
  • Tatsuya Murasa (4x200m Freestyle Relay)
  • Hidenari Mano (4x200m Freestyle Relay)
  • Riku Matsumoto (4x100m Medley Relay - Backstroke)
  • Taku Taniguchi (4x100m Medley Relay - Breaststroke)


Individual Events

  • Satomi Suzuki (100m, 200m Breaststroke)
  • Reona Aoki (100m Breaststroke)
  • Mizuki Hirai (100m Butterfly)
  • Rikako Ikee (100m Butterfly)
  • Airi Mitsui (200m Butterfly)
  • Hiroko Makino (200m Butterfly)
  • Yui Ohashi (200m IM)
  • Shiho Matsumoto (200m IM)
  • Mio Narita (400m IM)
  • Ageha Tanigawa (400m IM)

Relay Events

  • Waka Kobori (4x200m Freestyle Relay)
  • Rio Shirai (4x200m Freestyle Relay, 4x100m Medley Relay - Backstroke)
  • Nagisa Ikemoto (4x200m Freestyle Relay)