Olympic gold medallist Hagino Kosuke is set to retire, according to reports in his homeland Japan.
Current 200 and 400 IM world champion, and close friend of Hagino, Seto Daiya then posted the following on twitter:
“I wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t have him to try to keep up with. He was a truly huge presence to me. I will miss him but I still have plenty of challenges for myself. I want to win a gold medal like he did. Thanks for the greatest memories”.
Hagino Kosuke: Japanese swimming GOAT
Hagino became an overnight celebrity in Japan when he broke his own Asian record to win the 400m individual medley Olympic gold at Rio 2016. It was his nation’s first-ever Olympic victory in the event. He also went on to claim silver in his favoured 200 IM.
In 2017, he landed his second world silver in the 200 IM, and seemed to have the world at his feet.
However, the Tochigi Prefecture native struggled to regain his best form and motivation. Subsequently, he decided to take a break from the sport in 2019, citing ‘extreme depression’.
After a five-month hiatus, Hagino returned to competition at the Japan swimming nationals, hungrier than ever for success at his home Olympics.
After some encouraging results, he finished sixth in the 200 IM at the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics in 2021, two places behind his compatriot and double world champion Daiya Seto.
Hagino owns Japanese long course national records in the 200 IM in a time of 1:55.07, the 400 IM in 4:06:05, and the 400m freestyle in 3:43:90.
With four Olympic and 11 Asian Games medals, the Tokyo University graduate is undoubtedly one of his nation’s finest ever swimmers.