Shozo Makino (JPN)
Honor Swimmer (1991)
FOR THE RECORD: WORLD RECORDS: 7 (100yd, 200m & 440yd backstroke; 300m individual medley; 3 relays); NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: 6 (150yd, 100m backstroke; 4 relays); AAU NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 8 (150yd, 100m backstroke; 300m individual medley; 5 relays); AMERICAN RECORDS: 18 (100yd, 150yd, 150m, 100m, 200yd, 400yd, 440yd backstroke; 150yd individual medley; 9 relays).
Shozo Makino was one of the great Japanese swimmers who helped lead Japan through the 1930 decade known as the “Golden Age of Swimming” for Japan. At a time when fellow countryman and Hall of Famer Kusuo Kitamura was the world’s unbeatable distance freestyler, Makino was setting world records too. All total, he set 7 world records in the 400 and 800 meter freestyles which lasted from 1933 to 1941.
He began his nine year swimming career at age 14 in 1929 by setting Japan’s 1500 meter freestyle national record with a time of 20:44.2 He repeated that performance in 1930 and added the 300, 400, 500 , and 1000 meter freestyle records to his list of titles. At the 1931 Japan/USA dual meet, Makino won the 1500 meter freestyle and set his first world record in the 800 meter freestyle.
The Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1932 were dominated by the Japanese who won all events except one, in which Buster Crabbe of the United States was the victor in the 400 meter freestyle. Makino was only 2 seconds behind gold medalist Kitamura in the 1500, resulting in a one-two finish for the Japanese.
Makino continued to set national records and lowered his 800 meter world mark each year until 1941 when Bill Smith (USA) captured the title. Along with winning the bronze medal in 1936 at the Berlin Olympics in the 400 meter freestyle, Shozo Makino had tremendous success at the collegiate level winning four championships in the 400 and 800 meter freestyle events.