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 â€œsuper middle schoolerâ€ 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 womenâ€™s 50-meter freestyle at Saturdayâ€™s Konami Open, finishing in 24.74 seconds to eclipse Miki Uchidaâ€™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 â€” in part because she was accustomed to the attention, having broken a pair of national records since October.
â€œIt didnâ€™t come as such a surprise as the previous two times,â€ she said.
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