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Aquatics | International

Ippei Watanabe © Gallo Images

Watanabe sets breaststroke world record

Japan's Ippei Watanabe broke the men's 200 metres breaststroke world record on Sunday by becoming the first swimmer to go under two minutes, seven seconds.

The 19-year-old clocked a time of 2:06.67 at the Kosuke Kitajima Cup in Tokyo, eclipsing the previous best set by countryman Akihiro Yamaguchi in 2012 by 0.34 seconds.

"I'm stunned," Watanabe told reporters after lowering a record once regularly broken by Japanese swim great Kitajima, who was watching on at Tatsumi pool.

"It still hasn't sunk in. I'm unbelievably happy. I just tried to go for it but I didn't think I'd get (the record)."

Watanabe threatened a sensational shock at last year's Rio Olympics with a Games record going into the final, only to finish sixth.

"This is a marker," said Watanabe, looking ahead to this year's Budapest world championships in July.

"I'll be looking to win the world title and to keep improving the world record."


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