Connect with us


[JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] How Has the Host Nation Fared at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships?

In Fukuoka, artistic swimmers have been Japan's bright spot at the World Aquatics Championships, winning all four of its gold medals.



World Aquatics Championships
Japan's Daiya Seto competes in a men's 400-meter individual medley heat at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships on July 23 in Fukuoka. (Issei Kato/REUTERS)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] How Has the Host Nation Fared at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships?

The 2023 edition of the World Aquatics Championships (July 14-30) marks the 12th time this global meet has been held in the 21st century. Events are staged in open water swimming, diving, high diving, water polo, artistic swimming (formerly known as synchronized swimming) and swimming.

In six of those tournaments, Japan's swimmers have collected at least one gold medal. Daiya Seto grabbed the gold in the men's 200- and 400-meter individual medley events in 2019 in Gwangju, South Korea, making him the most recent Japanese swimmer to be crowned world champion.

Seto won the 400 IM in 2013 in Barcelona for his first world title. He was also a world champion in 2015 in the 400 IM in Kazan, Russia, where teammates Natsumi Hoshi (women's 200-meter butterfly) and Kanako Watanabe (women's 200-meter breaststroke) also took home gold. And Seto added another medal to his collection with a third-place finish in the 400 IM on Sunday, July 23.

Kosuke Kitajima, who will be inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in September, had a breakthrough performance on the global stage at the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona, winning both the men's 100- and 200-meter breaststroke finals.

Also of note, Kitajima became the 200 breaststroke world champion again at the worlds in 2007 in Melbourne, Australia. And Junya Koga earned the title in the men's 100 backstroke in 2009 in Rome.

World Aquatics Championships
China's Haiyang Qin won gold medals in the men's 50-, 100- and 200-meter breaststroke events in Fukuoka. (Issei Kato/REUTERS)

Medal Leaders at the World Aquatics Championships

Entering the final day of this year's meet (Sunday, July 30), the host nation had zero gold medals in swimming events in Fukuoka.

Japan was, however, tied with the United States for the third-most gold medals (four) in all aquatics disciplines. 

In the overall medal count, China was first with 37 (20 gold, seven silver, 10 bronze) and tied with Team USA for overall medals. The Americans had 18 silver and 15 bronze through the penultimate day of the tournament. (Check out the full medal table on the World Aquatics website.)

Australia has had great success in Fukuoka, winning 15 gold medals to go along with seven silver and three bronze. To put it another way, of the six nations with double-digit medal counts, Australia has the highest percentage (60%, or 15 of 25) of overall medals being gold. 

Japan's Gold Medalists at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships

Japan's top artistic swimmer, Yukiko Inui, won the women's solo technical routine and solo free routine events for the second year in a row. The previous meet, postponed from 2021 to 2022, was held in Budapest.

Artistic swimming siblings Tomoka Sato and Yotaro Sato earned the gold in the mixed duet technical competition.

Continue reading the full story, which includes news items on sumo, fencing, track and field and more, on SportsLook.


Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and Twitter @ed_odeven

Subscribe to Ed Odeven's weekly sports newsletter.

Our Partners