Akihiro Yamaguchi’s biggest problem is that he swims too fast.
The 18-year-old Japanese swimmer recently broke the 200m breaststroke world record by more than a quarter of a second – quite a drop. But almost two months after resetting the mark, Yamaguchi is having trouble in his training pool.
And by that we mean there are too many people in the water.
“There has been a sharp rise in the number of people using the pool after I broke the world record,” Yamaguchi told Reuters. “I haven’t been able to find my top speed and my form is still not where it should be. I don’t have that explosiveness.”
Yamaguchi said the sudden jump in numbers is affecting his workouts.
Disruptions aside, Japan’s national coach Norimasa Hirai thinks Yamaguchi is better than four-time Olympic breaststroke champion Kosuke Kitajima was at age 18. Yamaguchi will race against some of the fastest swimmers in the world at the Short-Course World Championships in December, so we’ll get a sense of how accurate the comparison is then.
“This is the dawn of a new age for Japanese swimming,” Hirai said.
Japan won 11 swimming medals in London, the second highest total behind the United States’ 31.
Steve Langton, who was described by driver Steven Holcomb as the “best push athlete in the world,” announced his retirement today.
A collegiate sprinter and jumper at Northeastern University, Langton decided to try bobsledding after watching the 2006 Winter Olympics. He filled out an online athlete resume, and, by the 2010 Games, he was an Olympian.
At the Sochi 2014 Games, Langton teamed with Holcomb to win a bronze medal in the two-man race. It was the first Olympic medal in the event by American sled since 1952. He claimed another bronze medal as a member of Holcomb’s four-man “Night Train.”
“In Sochi I competed on the world’s biggest stage, I won two medals for my country and I did so along not only the best teammates but best friends anyone could ever ask for,” Langton told USA Bobsled.
Langton, who has a 62-inch standing box jump and can squat more than 500 pounds, was described by Men’s Health as “the most powerful winter Olympian” in the lead-up to 2014 Games.
“[Langton’s] work ethic and discipline rubbed off on the other athletes and made everyone better,” said USA Bobsled & Skeleton Chief Executive Officer Darrin Steele. “I have no doubt that he’ll find success in the next chapter of his life as well.”
Langton appeared on “The Amazing Race” in 2015 with his girlfriend, Aly Dudek, an Olympic short track speedskater.
None of the push athletes on the current U.S. roster have Olympic experience. Holcomb will compete in the World Cup opener this Saturday with Sam McGuffie, a former University of Michigan football player. The race will be McGuffie’s World Cup debut.