Ikee — pronounced E-kay — won six gold medals two years ago at the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, which included the 50 and 100-meter freestyle, and the 50 and 100-meter butterfly. She also won gold in two relays, and added two silvers.
She said she intends to swim in an intercollegiate meet in October, and has not talked about trying to qualify for the delayed Tokyo Games next year.
“My main goal is to qualify for the Paris Olympics,” she said. “At the moment, it’s not like I am trying to record my best time. But I would like to try to get better gradually, to rebuild my physical strength. That is my motivation right now.”
Ikee talked about being “extremely nervous” despite swimming at a familiar pool in east Tokyo.
“But I was able to swim faster than my target time of 26.80. I think I was able to make a good restart,” she said.
A month ago she appeared in Tokyo’s new National Stadium where the opening ceremony would have been held. She was part of a brief video message to encourage other athletes to be hopeful the Olympics will take place next year despite the COVID-19 pandemic.