The Three-Year Swim Club

three year swim clubby Julia Checkoway • Non fiction

“Each man has his own vocation. The talent is his call,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson, and for Soichi Sakomoto that vocation was to teach swimming. Even though Sakomoto could barely swim himself, this was never an obstacle to fulfilling his dream. He was determined to take a team of young Hawaiians to the 1940 Olympics in Tokyo. Where would these swimmers come from? From the poorest of the poor – the children of the workers living on a Hawaiian sugar plantation. Having seen the children playing in the irrigation ditches, Sakomoto devised a plan. “Three years of discipline. Three years of sacrifice. Three years of nothing except swimming,” he told the eager swimmers, and then they would receive their reward. But storms were rumbling on the horizon. Did Sakomoto have the strength and determination to withstand them? Would he see his dream fulfilled?

I loved this book for so many reasons. It is a great story of hope. It is a great story of devotion. It is a great story of tenacity. I admit, at times my eyes glazed over at points and sometimes I got a little lost in all the meticulous detail, but nevertheless, I re-emerged inspired and impressed by this work of non-fiction.

Publisher: Little Brown • Publication date: October 2015 • ISBN: 978-1-4555-2344-3