Time Magazine, July 29, 1946, page 46

Sakamoto's Swimmers

_____At moonlit Waikiki Beach last week, the flying fishes had tough competition. Inside Waikiki natatorium, the crack team of the Hawaii Swim Club took on the visiting national A.A.U. champions from Ohio State. In the process, the Hawaiians broke one Olympic and three U.S. records - all to the greater glory of a sad, serious-minded U.S.S born Japanese whose ambition is to get his boys on a U.S.Olympic swimming team, and to be their coach.

_____That ambition first hit Soichi Sakamoto a decade ago, when he was teaching grade school on the Hawaiian island of Maui. He knew nothing about swimming except what he had learned as a scoutmaster, teaching lifesaving. "I read some books on swimming but it didn't do any good," he says, "so I started just using common sense." Common sense consisted of rounding up the best young prospects on an island where kids are naturally amphibious, then straightening out their faults. His first pupils, who could not afford to use private pools, swam their time trials in irrigation ditches.

_____Sakamoto's ditch-wrigglers did all right. Led by the Nisei Nakama brothers, they won the A.A.U. outdoor team championships in 1939 and 1940. Sakamoto was gunning for the 1940 Olympics, but they were called off. In 1941 before war dispersed them, Sakamoto's proteges won their third outdoor A.A.U. title; and one of them, Bill Smith, son of a Honolulu cop, broke most of the world's records from 200 to 800 meters.

_____Now Sakamoto is pointing for the 1948 Olympics. Among the members of his postwar club, again a strong contender for the A.A.U. outdoor meet in Sand Diego next month, are: ex-Navy man Smith, who last week beat Johnny Weismuller's U.S. 100 meter long course record with a 57.7; Ralph Wright, ex-marine who bettered the Olympic 200-meter long course breast stroke mark with a 2:42.3; and Harry Holiday, ex-Michigan star, who beat the U.S. 300-meter individual medley record with a 3:52.9.

_____On the basis of such showings, some of Soichi Sakamoto's boys looked like sure shots for the Olympics. But the coaching job himself probably had little chance against Yale's four-time Olympic Coach Bob Kiphuth.

Mahalo to Sonny Wright for the article