Soichi Sakamoto

Soichi Sakamoto was an American swimming coach who pioneered training methods that have now become standard throughout the sport.

Many of his students went on to have great success nationally and internationally. He was inducted into the International Swimming, Hawaii Sports and American Swimming Coaches Association Halls of Fame, and is a member of the University of Hawaii Sports Circle of Honor.


Soichi Sakamoto was born on 6th of August 1906 in the city of Puunene, Hawaii.

Sakamoto was a sixth-grade science teacher at Puunene School in Maui, Hawaii, and initially knew little about swimming. Nonetheless, he established the Three-Year Swim Club in 1937 for the children of poor sugar plantation workers. The name of the club reflected his goal of getting his pupils on the Olympic team in three years. While his students did indeed qualify, the 1940 Summer Olympics were canceled due to World War II. However, his team won the 1939, 1940, and 1941 Amateur Athletic Union national outdoor team championships. He was the swimming coach at the University of Hawaii from 1946 to 1961 and an assistant coach of the US Olympic Swim Team from 1952 to 1956.

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