Kosuke Hagino, star Japanese swimmer, to miss world championships

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Kosuke Hagino, Japan’s lone active Olympic swimming champion, will miss July’s world championships. He withdrew before April’s national championships, citing a lack of desire to compete, and is not at this week’s Japan Open.

Swimswam.com reported earlier that Hagino was missing from the entry lists for the Japan Open, the 2020 Olympic host nation’s last qualifier for swimming worlds.

“Kosuke Hagino will not be competing at the World Championships this year,” a rep from Hagino’s management agency said in an email Friday. “He is taking some time off and will be preparing for next year.”

Hagino, 24, won the sport’s decathlon, the 400m individual medley at the Rio Games. Last summer, Hagino took silver and bronze in the individual medleys at the Pan Pacific Championships, seeing American rival Chase Kalisz sweep the events, just as Kalisz did at the 2017 Worlds.

A large banner in a Tokyo transportation hub displayed the faces of Kalisz, Hagino and another Japanese star, Daiya Seto, promoting their rivalry in the 400m IM before Pan Pacs in the capital city. It was warranted.

Hagino was arguably the world’s best all-around swimmer in 2014 and 2015, after beating Michael Phelps at 2014 Pan Pacs.

Though Hagino missed the 2015 Worlds with a broken right elbow suffered in a bike accident, he rebounded for the 400m IM gold in Rio, topping Kalisz by seven tenths of a second in an Asian record 4:06.05. Hagino hasn’t swum within four seconds of that time since, according to FINA.

“I’ve been unable to achieve the results I had hoped for since the 2017 season,” Hagino said in a March 15 statement, according to media translations. “As the gap between my targets and reality has widened, it has become harder for me to maintain my motivation.

“I have accepted the fact that I am in no condition to focus on the sport, and thus I have made the decision.”

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