Tomoru Honda finally gave Japanese swimming something to smile about at the Asian Games on Tuesday, winning the men's 400-meter individual medley for the country's first gold medal in the Hangzhou pool.
Honda led a 1-2 finish with compatriot Daiya Seto, clocking 4 minutes, 11.40 seconds, 1.48 ahead of the four-time world individual medley champion. China's Wang Shun came third in 4:15.12 two days after winning the 200 individual medley.
Japan's first gold in the pool came on Day 3 of the six-day swimming program after two days of China's dominance with 11 golds out of 14 events at Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre's Aquatic Sports Arena.
"I'm relieved to have won gold," the 21-year-old Honda said. "We've got the momentum, and we want to keep it going until the final day."
Honda is scheduled to swim in his favorite event, the 200-meter butterfly, on Friday.
Hong Kong's Siobhan Bernadette Haughey picked up her second gold in as many days, winning the 100 freestyle in an Asian record of 52.17 seconds, 0.10 faster than the previous record she set at the last Olympics in 2021.
"I'm really happy that I can do a best time here," Haughey said. "I haven't swum a best time since Tokyo, but I knew I had the ability of going faster."
China won the day's other three individual events, with Peng Xuwei taking the women's 200-meter backstroke in 2:07.28, Li Bingjie first in the women's 400 freestyle in 4:01.96 and Fei Liwei in the men's 1,500 freestyle in 14:55.47.
When Fei made the final turn, his swimming cap fell off.
"No panic, I have long hair," the 20-year-old said. "I often come across this situation when I'm training. It was just the first time at a competition that it really affected me a little bit, but I just got used to it."
China also won the last event of the night in dominant fashion, rewriting its Asian record in the men's 4x100 medley relay with 3:27.01 and taking its swimming gold tally in Hangzhou to 15.
South Korea finished 5.04 seconds behind in second place, followed by Japan an additional 0.47 back.