Japanese Swimmer Daichi Suzuki To Be Inducted Into International Swimming Hall of Fame Class of 2020

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Daichi Suzuki stunned the world when he beat the USA’s David Berkoff at the 1988 Olympic Games in the 100-meter backstroke.

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Daichi Suzuki after he beat David Berkoff in the 100-meter backstroke at the 1988 Seoul Olympics Photo Courtesy: Daichi Suzuki

While Hall of Famer, David Berkoff is widely credited with “inventing” swimming backstroke underwater with a dolphin kick, the origin of the technique is far from clear. The first record of swimming in this manner in competition credits Hall of Famer Jesse Vassallo with being the first. Perhaps independently, Daichi Suzuki of Japan developed the skill and, as a 17-year-old, became the first to swim 25 meters underwater at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.  At about the same time, David Berkoff started experimenting with what became known as “the Berkoff Blastoff” in the USA.

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Daichi Suzuki at the start position for the 100-meter backstroke during the 1988 Seoul Olympics Photo Courtesy: Daichi Suzuki

Fast forward to the preliminaries of the 1988 Olympic Games, Berkoff and Suzuki went head-to-head, with Berkoff staying five more meters underwater on the first lap than his opponent and winning by over a body length in world record time.

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Daichi Suzuki launching into the 100-meter backstroke at the 1988 Seoul Olympics Photo Courtesy: Daichi Suzuki

In the finals, it was a different story.  Berkoff surfaced at 40 meters with a half-body lead over Suzuki.  Suzuki caught up and out-touched Berkoff for the gold medal, in what was considered the major upset of the Games. Suzuki retired immediately after the Seoul Olympics and has continued to be active at nearly all levels of the sport.

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Daichi Suzuki with his gold medal on the podium at the 1988 Olympics Photo Courtesy: Daichi Suzuki

Come and meet Suzuki in person and hear his incredible life story at the ISHOF Induction dinner on Saturday, April 25, 2020.  Become an ISHOF Legacy Member and attend the ISHOF Induction Dinner for FREE. Can’t attend the event? Please consider donating to ISHOF, support Suzuki and our other inspirational Honorees.

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Daichi Suzuki waving to the crowd after receiving his gold medal Photo Courtesy: Daichi Suzuki

More About Daichi Suzuki

Upon retirement, Suzuki became the varsity coach at Juntendo University.  He also sat on the board of Japan’s Anti-Doping Agency, as well as serving on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Athlete Committee.  He eventually was selected as President of the Japan Swimming Federation, and more recently was named to head Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

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Daichi Suzuki at the 1988 Seoul Olympics Photo Courtesy: Daichi Suzuki

About the International Swimming Hall of Fame Induction Weekend:

The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) Induction Ceremony is shaping up to be a star-studded weekend with ISHOF Honoree and Sullivan Award Winner, Debbie Meyer, and double Olympic gold-medalist and everyone’s favorite Olympic swimming broadcaster, Rowdy Gaines acting as co-emcees and hosts of the induction with multiple events spread out over two days in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Make your plans now to attend the weekend of April 24-25, 2020!  ISHOF Members can purchase the Complete Weekend Package (see below) and save! (Get info on membership here.) Can’t attend the event? Donate to ISHOF to support our honorees.

This year’s International Swimming Hall of Fame Honorees include:

HONOR SWIMMERS: Brendan Hansen (USA), Michael Klim (AUS), Jon Sieben (AUS), Rebecca Soni (USA), and Daichi Suzuki (JPN)

HONOR DIVER: Matthew Mitcham (AUS)

HONOR SYNCHRONIZED (ARTISTIC) SWIMMER: Elvira Khasyanova (RUS)

HONOR WATER POLO: Mirko Vičević (YUG/MON)

HONOR OPEN WATER SWIMMER: Marilyn Bell (CAN)

HONOR COACH: Ursula Carlile (AUS) and David Marsh (USA)

HONOR CONTRIBUTOR: Bob Duenkel*(USA) and Peter Hurzeler (SUI)

In addition to the Class of 2020, two Honorees from the Class of 2019, who were unable to attend last year, will be present to be inducted. Honor Swimmer: Otylia Jedrzejczak (POL) and Honor Diver: Li Ting (CHN).

Get more information about this year’s induction class here and more information about Otylia Jedrzejczak and Li Ting.

*deceased

The Induction Weekend Schedule

Friday, April 24, 2020

Paragon & ISHOF Awards Night

  • 5:30 pm Cocktails
  • 6:30 pm ISHOF and Paragon Awards

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Honoree Induction Day Luncheon – Meet Rowdy Gaines and go on a behind the scenes tour of the Aquatic Complex construction

  • 12-1:30 pm Luncheon

Official 56th Annual International Swimming Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Dinner

  • 5:30 pm VIP Reception
  • 6:30 –10:00 pm Induction Ceremony & Dinner

 

Ticket Information

*See all ticket options here.

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

Host Hotel: Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa

Upscale retreat with private beach access, two pools, four restaurants, full service spa and oceanside bar. Location of the Saturday evening induction ceremony. ¼ mile south of the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

3030 Holiday Drive, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316 (954) 525-4000

Special ISHOF Guest Rate of $279 per night

Book your group rate for International Swimming Hall of Fame

NOTE: RESORT FEE IS INCLUDED in the $279 rate

 

Courtyard by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Beach

440 Seabreeze Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316 (954) 524-8733

Special ISHOF Guest Rate of $229 per night

Book your hotel through the group rate for ISHOF Honoree Ceremony

Questions: contact Meg Keller-Marvin at meg@ishof.org or 570-594-4367