Ikkaku Matsuzawa - Hall Of Fame Coach

Ikkaku Matsuzawa (JPN)
2009 COACH
BirthplaceKyōbashi-ku,Tokyo Current City
CountryJapan FlagJapan
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  • Was the leader of Japanese swimming for a decade, guiding his swimmers to unprecedented international success.
  • His swimmers won nine gold, seven silver, and seven bronze medals at the 1932 and 1936 Olympic Games.
  • Named the head coach of the Japanese National Team, leading his team to defeat the U.S. in 1931 and 1935 duel meets.
  • Started the Nippon Intercollegiate Swimming Association in 1921 and was active in the Amateur Swimming Federation of Japan.
  • Developed revolutionary training methods and empha­sized dryland training for his swimmers.
  • Coached the first-ever female Japanese team exhibition meet in Hawaii in 1929.
1932, 1936 OLYMPIC GAMES: Head Coach; COACH OF SWIMMERS WINNING: 9 gold, 7 silver and 7 bronze Olympic medals;
// BIO

No other swimming coach has single-handedly developed, trained and organized a national team to Olympic and international prominence more so than Japan's Ikkaku Matsuzawa.

He became the leader of Japanese swimming for a 10-year span, ended only by the outbreak of World War II. During the late teens and early 1920's, Matsuzawa was a middle school, high school and university swimmer in Tokyo. Very few pools existed and swim­ming meets were held in the seas or lakes. Being a good swimmer and seeing the need for a college swimming organization, he started the Nippon Intercollegiate Swimming Association in 1921. He was also very active in the Amateur Swimming Federation of Japan.

In 1929, he escorted the first Japanese team of female swimmers to compete in Hawaii. Upon the team's return, he was appointed coach of the National Team for men and women, competing against the U.S. Team in a 1931 duel meet in which Japan came out on top. The team was victorious again at a 1935 duel meet versus the United States.

At the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, his male swim­mers stunned the world by winning all but one of the gold medals and four of the five silver medals. Among his swimmers were future Hall of Famers Yasuji Miyazaki, Kusuo Kitamura, Shozo Makino, Masaji Kiyokawa, Yoshi Tsuruta, Reizo Koike and Masanora Yusa, all winning Olympic medals in all three strokes. On the women's side, Hideko Maehata collected the silver medal in the 200m breaststroke.

At the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, the Japanese men won two of the five events, two of the silver medals, and swept all of the bronze medals. The relay team won the gold. In women's competition, Maehata again won the breaststroke gold medal while Tetsuo Hamuro won the men's 200m breaststroke.

His training methods were revolutionary for the era. He emphasized developing leg muscles for a strong kick versus developing upper body limbs as other countries were doing. He stressed the rhyth­mic motion of the trunk to minimize water resistance and empha­sized dryland training while providing leadership and instruction. His success of the time may be attributed to his strict system of training according to army discipline; he had his swimmers lead a systematical life. ­