Japan’s Watanabe sets world record in 200-meter breaststroke

Japan's Watanabe sets world record in 200-meter breaststroke

TOKYO — Japan teenager Ippei Watanabe set a world record in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke with a time of 2 minutes, 06.67 seconds.

The 19-year-old university student improved on the previous mark of 2:07.01 set by compatriot Akihiro Yamaguchi in 2012. Watanabe set the record time in the final of the 200 breaststroke at the Tokyo metropolitan championships on Sunday.

“I’m very surprised, I didn’t think I could break a world record,” Watanabe said. “I want to become a swimmer who can keep breaking records.”

Watanabe competed in the men’s 100-meter breaststroke at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics but didn’t qualify for the final. He also broke the Olympic record for the men’s 200-meter breaststroke during the semifinal in Rio before finishing sixth in the final.

Watanabe won the 200 breaststroke gold medal at the 2014 Youth Olympics. He qualified for the Rio Games by finishing runner-up in the 200 breaststroke final with a time of 2:09.45 at the Japan national championships in 2016.

The Associated Press