Swimmer Ikee recalls year of highs and lows

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Rikako Ikee, center, is seen training in Meguro Ward, Tokyo, on Saturday.

Swimming star Rikako Ikee, who competed at the Tokyo Olympics after recovering from leukemia, has vowed to aim higher after recalling a year full of ups and downs.

Nihon University’s swimming club, to which Ikee belongs, made its training open to the public Saturday at a swimming pool in Meguro Ward, Tokyo.

“It was turbulent,” Ikee, a junior at the university, said about the past year. “I’ve had many good and disappointing experiences. I’ve gone through dizzying changes.”

The race that Ikee remembers most this year is the women’s 4×100-meter medley relay final at the Tokyo Olympics, in which she cried after her team finished in eighth place.

“I felt the frustration of not being able to compete [on an equal footing], and it made me think again that I want to be more competitive,” she said.

“Since I made my comeback, I’ve shed many tears of disappointment. I hope I can finish with better results and don’t have to cry,” said Ikee, who is now preparing for next year’s World Championships and Asian Games.

As new captain of the university’s women’s team, Ikee said, “I want to make our team an ideal team by listening to everyone’s opinions.”

During Saturday’s training, Ikee swam about 4,000 meters for two hours.