PHOENIX, Arizona, September 13. KOSUKE Hagino, the 18-year-old who won a bronze medal in the 400 individual medley at the London Olympics, strongly considered attending one of two major universities in the United States, but has decided to stay in Japan.
A report on the Japanese news website sanspo.com indicates that Hagino had talks with David Salo at the University of Southern California and with Gregg Troy at the University of Florida about the possibility of attending either school. In the end, it wasn't the swimming or academic programs that dissuaded Hagino from pursuing the matter further, but the large language barrier that the teenager was concerned about bridging. The report did not say how well Hagino speaks and understands the English language, but did say it was the main factor in Hagino's decision to stay home and enroll at Toyo University.
Hagino, who also is gaining notoriety for his backstroke prowess after a strong 200 back recently, will work with Norimasa Hirai at Toyo University. Hirai guided Kitajima to Olympic success in 2004 and 2008 before Kitajima moved to Los Angeles to work with Salo for the 2012 Olympics. Hirai was also the Japanese Olympic head coach in London.
Hagino is wrapping up his final year at Sakushin Gakuin High School, and reports indicate he's set for his first semester at Toyo University in April.
Full text of sanspo.com article (in Japanese)
Special thanks to Takahisa Ide for contributing to this report.