Waseda University alumni Kanako Watanabe (member of JSS, graduated in 2019 from the School of Sport Sciences) has been informally selected to represent Japan in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Watanabe competed in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke at Japan Swim, a competition held at the Tokyo Aquatics Center on April 5. The event also served as the Tokyo Olympics preliminary round. Watanabe won with a time of 1 minute, 6.51 seconds. By doing so, she surpassed the Olympic qualifying mark (1:06.97), successfully ensuring her participation in the Olympics for the third consecutive time.
Born in 1996, Watanabe graduated from the School of Sports Science at Waseda University. She began swimming at the age of four. In 2010, Watanabe won both the 100m and 200m breaststroke events at a national junior high school athletic meet. The following year, she won the Japan Open, setting new Japanese junior high school records in the 50, 100, and 200-meter events. In 2012, she competed in the London Olympics, reaching the semifinals. In 2016, while still a student at the university, Watanabe was selected for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, participating for the second time. After graduating in 2019, she became the first captain of the national team at the 2019 Summer Universiade in Naples, Italy.