With veteran swimmers able to enjoy longevity in the sport in recent years, it has become increasingly difficult for young hopefuls to make a major splash in Japan in the early stages of their careers.
However, kicking that trend is Rikako Ikee, the 15-year-old “super middle schooler” who broke three national records over the past four months.
Ikee, a third-year student at a middle school in Edogawa Ward, Tokyo, won the women’s 50-meter freestyle at Saturday’s Konami Open, finishing in 24.74 seconds to eclipse Miki Uchida’s Japan record by 0.21 seconds. Ikee shaved 0.25 seconds off her personal best.
Despite the feat, the teenager was composed following the race — in part because she was accustomed to the attention, having broken a pair of national records since October.
“It didn’t come as such a surprise as the previous two times,” she said.
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