TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Kosuke Kitajima saw his hopes of appearing in a fifth-consecutive Olympics end after placing fifth in the men's 200-meter breaststroke final at the national championships on Friday.
Kitajima, who left the pool to thunderous applause, said it was too early to talk about his future plans, although he did say his time swimming in top level competition was "over."
The 33-year-old former two-time double Olympic champion came into the race needing to finish in the top two and also meet the qualifying standard time of 2 minutes, 9.54 seconds to have any hope of punching his ticket to Rio.
But he faded down the last 50 meters at Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center and posted a time of 2:09.96 to finish well behind winner Yasuhiro Koseki.
"Results are results and so whatever result you get you have to accept it," said Kitajima, who finished third overall in the semifinal heats. "If it had been a good result I could celebrate but when you lose the disappointment lingers."
"But I feel rather refreshed. I think I was aggressive until the end. The result was not good but I was able to swim once again with a feeling of determination to go to the Olympics. It hurts but I gave it my best shot."
The defeat dashed our hopes of winning a medal.