Ed Odeven Reporting

My April 2006 feature on future Japan swimming national team head coach Norimasa Hirai appeared in the Arizona Daily Sun.


By Ed Odeven

Magic Johnson proved that great players don’t always make great coaches. Countless others have done the same on sandlots in the Midwest, football fields in central Florida and far-flung locales around the globe.

Norimasa Hirai, on the other hand, has shown a person can become an exceptional coach by putting their mind to it.

Hirai, Tokyo Swimming Center’s head coach who is a yearly visitor to NAU’s Center for High Altitude Training, went to the same pool in his homeland as a boy. He later attended Waseda University and competed on the university’s swim club.

One of Hirai’s unheralded teammates, who was two years his junior, made the 1984 Japanese Olympic Team. And it was during this time that Hirai…

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