Daiya Seto won his third career 400-meter individual medley world championship title, and also secured a second spot at the Tokyo Olympics on the final day of the FINA World Swimming Championships held in Gwangju, South Korea, on July 28.
Seto finished in 4 minutes, 8.95 seconds to edge American Jay Litherland and add to the gold he won in the 200 IM, an event he’d never medaled in before. Seto’s fourth career world title gives him one more than former Japanese great Kosuke Kitajima.
The 25-year-old set a blistering pace through the first three-quarters of the race, entering the freestyle with a lead of over two lengths. But Litherland almost caught him at the end, finishing just 0.27 seconds back.
“I was lucky to win gold,” Seto said. “I saw him (Litherland). I wanted to make sure I could build up a big enough lead in the first half, but the fact that I couldn’t hold out in the second half is an area for improvement for next year (ahead of the Olympics).”
Earlier, Japan qualified for both the men’s and women’s 4×100-meter Olympic medley relay by advancing to their respective finals.
Japan finished third overall in the men’s heats and eighth overall in the women’s heats. The top 12 teams from the prelims of a relay event at the worlds automatically qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games. (Kyodo)