FOR THE RECORD: 1932, 1936 OLYMPIC GAMES: Head Coach; COACH OF SWIMMERS WINNING: 9 gold, 7 silver and 7 bronze Olympicmedals; COACH OF 1931,1935 JAPANESE TEAM VS.USA TEAM DUEL MEETS; FORMED FIRST NIPPON INTERCOLLEGIATE SWIMMING ASSOCIATION; MEMBER AMATEUR SWIMMING FEDERATION OF JAPAN; COACH OF FIRST JAPANESE FEMALE TEAM EXHIBITION MEET IN HAWAII: 1929.
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. For a decade, he became the leader of Japanese swimming, 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 USA Team in a 1931 duel meet in which Japan was victorious.
is training methods were revolutionary for the era. He emphasized developing leg muscles for a strong kick versus developing upper body limbs as the other countries were doing. He stressed the rhythmic motion of the trunk to minimize water resistance. He emphasized dryland training while providing leadership and instruction.
The next year at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, 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. Hideko Maehata won the silver in the 200m breaststroke. The team was victorious again at a 1935 duel meet versus the USA. At the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, the Japanese men won two of the five events, two of the silver medals and all of the bronze medals. The relay team won the gold. In women’s competition, Maehata won the breaststroke gold medal while Tetsuo Hamuro won the men’s breaststroke.
His success of the time may be attributed to his strict system of training according to army discipline. He had the swimmers lead a systematical life.