- set a record
- 記録を樹立する（後出 break a record は記録を破る）
- Tokyo ... championships
- 東京都選手権（北島康介杯）のこと（後出 World Championships は世界選手権）
- improve on ～
- then ～
- cheer ～ on
- punch the air
- (be) determined to ～
- with the objective of ～
- come to the fore
- 敗れる、失敗する（後出 lose out も同意）
- streak ... Games
- 男子平泳ぎでの五輪４大会連続メダル獲得（streak of ～ は連続での～、 consecutive は連続の）
- fall short
- (be) equipped with ～
- arm stroke
- set about ～
Prince of the Pool
Nineteen‐year‐old Watanabe Ippei set a world record in the men's 200‐meter breaststroke with a time of 2 minutes, 06.67 seconds at the Tokyo metropolitan championships on Jan. 29.
The Waseda University student improved on the previous record of 2:07.01 set by then high school student Yamaguchi Akihiro in 2012. The men's 200‐meter breaststroke is the only swimming event in which a Japanese swimmer holds the world record.
After turning round at the 150‐meter mark, spectators cheered him on, expecting that he would break the world record. He repeatedly punched the air with joy, and stated afterward, I was determined to lead right from the start. I am absolutely delighted."
Watanabe started swimming while he was in second grade at elementary school in Oita Prefecture. He continued to improve, with the objective of one day becoming like Kitajima Kosuke, 34, who won two breaststroke gold medals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. Watanabe quickly came to the fore, making full use of his 193 centimeter frame, winning the 200‐meter breaststroke gold medal at the 2014 Youth Olympics.
In his first Olympic appearance at the 2016 Rio Games, Watanabe broke the Olympic record for the men's 200‐meter breaststroke during the semifinal, but finished sixth in the final. Other Japanese swimmers also failed, and Japan's streak of winning men's breaststroke medals in four consecutive Olympic Games fell short. After losing out in Rio, Watanabe was very disappointed and simply said, I am sorry."
Already equipped with impressive arm strokes, what Watanabe needed was a stronger kick. Following the Rio Games, he set about strengthening the lower half of his body while working on race strategy, where he swims with great speed from the beginning.
Kitajima acclaimed Watanabe's Jan. 29 race, saying, That was exciting. I think he can become even stronger."
I want to become a swimmer who can keep breaking records at the world stage," said Watanabe. With the Tokyo Olympics three years away, Watanabe's next stage is the World Championships in July.