World champion’s affair rocks Olympic swimming world

Four-time world champion swimmer Daiya Seto has been axed as Japan’s captain for the Tokyo Olympics after admitting to having an affair.

The Japan Swimming Federation found his actions to be against their “sportsmanlike conduct standards” and have banned him for a year. It is backdated, though, and he will be eligible for next year’s Olympics.

Seto, the reigning world champion in the men’s 200 and 400m individual medley, resigned as captain after admitting the extra-marital affair. The federation handed down the suspension after an extraordinary meeting this week.

He is married to fellow swimmer Yuka Mabuchi, and they have two daughters together. Speaking about the ban, Seto, who a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016, said: “How can I apologize? I have been asking myself if I can.

“But I think my apology is to continue swimming, restoring the trust of my family, who have been deeply hurt by my irresponsible behavior. I would like to seriously face swimming with the determination to start over so that my family and everyone will recognize me as a swimmer again. I’m really sorry.”

The affair came to light after a weekly magazine in Japan published a story about him meeting with a woman in a hotel.

The scandal appears to have tarnished Seto’s reputation and he has already agreed to sever ties with sponsor All Nippon Airways, his country’s national airline.

The 26-year-old, who started swimming when he was 5, won the bronze medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Seto also won gold in the 2012, 2014 and 2016 World Short Course Championships.

He holds the world records in the 200-meter butterfly and the 400-meter individual medley, both short course.

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