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Swimming: Ikee wins silver with national record at Pan Pacs

Eighteen-year-old Rikako Ikee of Japan gets silver at a major international tournament in the women's 200m freestyle in Tokyo, on Aug. 9, 2018. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Eighteen-year-old Rikako Ikee claimed her first medal at a major international tournament, a silver in the women's 200-meter freestyle, with a national record Thursday, as Japan bagged two gold medals, three silver and four bronze at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships.

Yasuhiro Koseki and Yui Ohashi won gold in the men's 100-meter breaststroke and women's 400-meter individual medley, respectively, to highlight Japan's medal rush on the opening day of the six-day event at Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center.

A medal hopeful at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Ikee touched the wall in 1 minute, 54.85 seconds, 0.41 second behind 18-year-old Taylor Ruck of Canada. Defending champion Katie Ledecky of the United States, a five-time Olympic gold medalist, settled for bronze in 1:55.15.

"It's my first medal at an international meet, so I was really worried before the race. But my home crowd cheering for me pushed me on," Ikee said.

"I'm really happy," she said. "But I lost to another swimmer my age, so I need to continue training to do better."

Koseki defended his 100-meter breaststroke title, finishing in 59.08. Australia's Jake Packard finished 0.12 behind for silver, and Brazil's Joao Gomes Jr. took bronze.

"I was gunning for gold. It's only my first event and I have other races here so I need to keep going," Koseki said.

In the women's 400-meter individual medley, Ohashi won gold in 4:33.77, while fellow Japanese Sakiko Shimizu earned bronze 2.5 seconds behind. American Melanie Margalis was runner-up in 4:35.60.

Rio de Janeiro Olympic champion Kosuke Hagino and Daiya Seto settled for silver and bronze, respectively, in the men's 400 IM, won by American Chase Kalisz (4:07.95). Hagino was 3.18 seconds behind, while Seto was 1.47 seconds further back.

"We wanted to race better. We went really aggressive but we both ended up dying," Hagino said. "Kalisz won with a great result, so I think we, Japanese, have a lot of room for improvement."

"I think I'm moving forward with the support of everyone. I never felt so good entering a venue. It felt really good swimming today, but I feel there's a gap between myself and Kalisz."

In the mixed medley relay, Japan earned silver with a national record 3:40.98. The team of Ryosuke Irie, Koseki, Ikee and Tomomi Aoki finished 2.07 seconds behind Australia. The United States finished third.

Reona Aoki of Japan claimed bronze in the women's 100-meter breaststroke, while Katsuhiro Matsumoto was third in the men's 200-meter freestyle.

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