Imagen
Keiichi Kimura of Japan swims the Men's 100m Breaststroke SB11 final during the Paralympic Swimming Tournament

Keiichi Kimura

Swimming
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Keichi Kimura has an important long-term goal in mind.

The visually impaired Para swimmer wants to compete at his home Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.

He may achieve his goal and Japan will be hoping that he can replicate the gold-medal winning success that started for Kimura in 2015.

Having competed at both Beijing 2008 and London 2012, securing silver in the 100m breaststroke S11 at the latter, in 2013 Kimura won his first world titles.

He mirrored that performance at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships, retaining his form in the year before the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

His biggest rival is also his hero. The USA’s Bradley Snyder has emerged as the man to beat in the men’s S11 and Kimura credits the American with being his inspiration.

Despite being in his mid-20s, Kimura already has a huge amount of competition experience.

At Rio 2016 he used that experience to his advantage. Whilst he did not beat Snyder, he still left with four medals to show he still amongst the world's best in one of the most competitive classifications.

He began swimming at the age of 10, having lost his sight at two-years-old due to a retinal condition.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Vision impairment
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
S11, SB11, SM11

Further personal information

Residence
Tokyo, JPN
Languages
English, Japanese
Higher education
Education - Nihon University: Tokyo, JPN

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He began swimming at age 10.
Why this sport?
His mother encouraged him to take up the sport.
Club / Team
Tokyo Gas: Japan
Name of coach
Takumi Uegaki [national], JPN

General interest

Nicknames
Kimu (pathway.jpnsport.go.jp, 11 Apr 2020)
Hobbies
Shogi [Japanese chess]. (Athlete, 11 Sep 2019; pathway.jpnsport.go.jp, 11 Apr 2020)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in S11 100m butterfly at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (sankei.com, 27 Dec 2021)
Most influential person in career
Coach Masato Teranishi, Japanese Para swimmer Junichi Kawai. (tokyo-np.co.jp, 03 Sep 2021; Athlete, 11 Sep 2019, 12 Jul 2015)
Hero / Idol
US Para swimmer Bradley Snyder. (Athlete, 11 Sep 2019)
Injuries
In 2022 he underwent surgery on his nose due to sinusitis [inflammation of the sinuses]. (note.com, 30 Jan 2022)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Do your best by focusing on what you can in the moment, even if you are not in your best form." (Mike Salter and Noel Thatcher Podcast, 12 Feb 2021)
Awards and honours
In March 2021, he threw the ceremonial first pitch ahead of the match between Yomiuri Giants and Yokohama DeNa BayStars on the opening day of the Japanese Nippon Professional Baseball [NPB] season. (Tokyo Gas Facebook page, 30 Mar 2021)

In 2017 he was given a Prize for Encouragement at the 11th Hanawa Hokiichi Awards in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. The awards are named after a Japanese scholar who was a Buddhist monk and had a vision impairment. (pref.saitama.lg.jp, 16 Dec 2017)

In 2016 he received the Ritto Citizen Honorary Award in Japan. (kyoto-np.co.jp, 27 Sep 2017)

He was presented with the Grand Prix award at the 2016 Japan Para Sport Awards. (the-japan-news.com, 08 Dec 2016)

In 2012 and 2014 he received a People's Honour award from Shiga Prefecture in Japan. (pref.shiga.lg.jp, 07 Nov 2014; Athlete, 07 Aug 2013)

He was flag bearer for Japan at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. (asahi.com, 06 Sep 2012)
Impairment
He lost his vision at age two due to a condition called proliferative vitreoretinopathy, which develops as a complication of retinal detachment. (Athlete, 12 Jul 2015; ninomiyasports.com, 10 Jul 2012)
Other information
AUTOBIOGRAPHY
In 2021 he released his autobiography titled 'A blind swimmer who swims in the dark, challenges the world by overcoming myself'. (amazon.co.jp, 20 Aug 2021)

TRAINING IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
In 2018 he moved to the United States of America to work with coach Brian Loeffler at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, after the pair were introduced by US Para swimmer Bradley Snyder. Alongside training, he also studied English at Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore. In March 2020 he returned to Japan due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "When the 2016 Paralympic Games were over, I thought to myself, 'I won't be able to win a gold medal unless I carry on doing what I've been doing, or work even harder'. During my time in the US, I kept experiencing things that didn't go as planned and issues caused by language barriers, but I managed to work things out in the end. I realised that I could overcome adversities. That experience helped me become more self-assured, and that mindset has also reflected in my swimming." (mainichi.jp, 26 Mar 2020; sankei.com, 24 Feb 2021; tokyo2020.org, 03 Sep 2020; tokyo-gas-2020.jp, 2019; ndm.edu, 08 Oct 2018; Tokyo Gas YouTube channel, 18 Oct 2018)

FURTHER EDUCATION
He studied for a postgraduate degree at Nihon University in Tokyo, Japan. (tokyo-gas.co.jp, 03 Sep 2021)

Results

Unit Date Rank
Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games (Beijing, China)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 50 m Freestyle S11 Heat 1 3
Men's 100 m Freestyle S11 Heat 1 2
Men's 100 m Freestyle S11 Final Round 5
Men's 400 m Freestyle S11 Heat 1 4
Men's 100 m Butterfly S11 Heat 1 4
Men's 100 m Butterfly S11 Final Round 6
Men's 100 m Breaststroke SB11 Heat 1 2
Men's 100 m Breaststroke SB11 Final Round 5
IPC Swimming World Championships Eindhoven 2010 (Eindhoven, Netherlands)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m Freestyle S11 Heat 3 2
Men's 100 m Freestyle S11 Final Round 3
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM11 Heat 2 2
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM11 Final Round 3
Men's 400 m Freestyle S11 Heat 2 3
Men's 400 m Freestyle S11 Final Round 6
Men's 50 m Freestyle S11 Heat 1 1
Men's 50 m Freestyle S11 Final Round 4
Men's 100 m Butterfly S11 Final Round 3
Men's 100 m Butterfly S11 Heat 2 4
Men's 100 m Breaststroke SB11 Final Round 2
Men's 100 m Breaststroke SB11 Heat 1 1
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m Freestyle S11 Heat 2 2012-08-31 3
Men's 100 m Freestyle S11 Final Round 2012-08-31 5
Men's 50 m Freestyle S11 Heat 1 2012-09-01 2
Men's 50 m Freestyle S11 Final Round 2012-09-01 5
Men's 100 m Breaststroke SB11 Heat 1 2012-09-03 2
Men's 100 m Breaststroke SB11 Final Round 2012-09-03 2
Men's 100 m Butterfly S11 Heat 2 2012-09-06 2
Men's 100 m Butterfly S11 Final Round 2012-09-06 3
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM11 Final Round 2012-09-08 8
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM11 Heat 2 2012-09-08 4
2013 IPC Swimming World Championships (Montreal, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 50 m Freestyle S11 Final 1 2013-08-13 2
Men's 100 m Freestyle S11 Final 1 2013-08-15 1
Men's 100 m Butterfly S11 Final 1 2013-08-16 3
Men's 100 m Breaststroke SB11 Final 1 2013-08-17 1
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM11 Final 1 2013-08-18 3
2015 IPC Swimming World Championships (Glasgow, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m Freestyle S11 Final 1 2015-07-13 4
Men's 100 m Freestyle S11 Heat 1 2015-07-13 4
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM11 Heat 2 2015-07-16 2
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM11 Final 1 2015-07-16 3
Men's 50 m Freestyle S11 Final 1 2015-07-17 2
Men's 50 m Freestyle S11 Heat 2 2015-07-17 2
Men's 100 m Breaststroke SB11 Final 1 2015-07-18 1
Men's 100 m Breaststroke SB11 Heat 2 2015-07-18 2
Men's 100 m Butterfly S11 Final 1 2015-07-19 1
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 50 m Freestyle S11 Heat 2 2016-09-12 2
Men's 50 m Freestyle S11 Final Round 2016-09-12 2
Men's 100 m Breaststroke SB11 Final Round 2016-09-13 3
Men's 100 m Breaststroke SB11 Heat 2 2016-09-13 1
Men's 100 m Butterfly S11 Final Round 2016-09-14 2
Men's 100 m Freestyle S11 Final Round 2016-09-15 3
Men's 100 m Freestyle S11 Heat 1 2016-09-15 4
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM11 Heat 2 2016-09-16 4
Men's 200 m Individual Medley SM11 Final Round 2016-09-16 4