Soichi Sakamoto coached some of Hawai’i’s top swimmers and was one of the most successful and recognized swimming coaches in Hawai’i’s history.

Sakamoto was a science teacher at Puunene School on Maui, and many of his swimmers moved there to train under his strict hand. His first training grounds were the irrigation ditches in the sugar cane fields.

He coached Bill Smith, Keo Nakama, Bill Woolsey, Ford Konno and Evelyn Kawamoto, among others.

His motto was: “Olympics first, Olympics always.” He was an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic Swim Team from 1952 -1956. Nine swimmers with Hawai’i ties participated in those Games; four earned medals, including gold by Oyakawa, Konno and Woolsey.

He is a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the University of Hawai’i Manoa Circle of Honor. The swimming facility at the War Memorial Complex in Wailuku, Maui, is named in his honor.

BORN 1906

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