Hagino sets sights on Olympics after conquering Asia

Wed Sep 24, 2014 9:28am EDT
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By Julian Linden

INCHEON South Korea (Reuters) - Showing no sign of fatigue or weariness after his grueling schedule, Japan's Kosuke Hagino provided another glimpse on Wednesday of why he could be the man to take over from Michael Phelps as swimming's ultimate ironman.

Hagino captured his fourth gold medal at the Asian Games by winning one of Phelps' signature events, the men's 400 meters individual medley, in the same dominating fashion as his American idol.

The 20-year-old university student only qualified second fastest for the final and looked to be in trouble after the penultimate leg of breaststroke when he dropped back to fourth place.

But he was just toying with his rivals, that included reigning world champion Daiya Seto.

As soon as he tumble turned for the last length of freestyle, Hagino ignited the afterburners, ferociously kicking his legs to quickly open up a big lead.

He sailed to victory in a time of four minutes 07.75 seconds, slashing almost six seconds off the Asian Games record, and collecting his sixth medal in Incheon, with one more event still to go.

"For qualification races, I didn't swim well so I was a little worried about how I should swim in the final," he said.

"But today, my freestyle was very good and effective. My strategy was to bring the very best potential in me for the last 100m and it worked well. The record is not bad either."   Continued...

Japan's Kosuke Hagino reacts after winning in the men's 200m freestyle final swimming competition at the Munhak Park Tae-hwan Aquatics Center during the 17th Asian Games in Incheon September 21, 2014. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne