Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Wisconsin introduces new swimming, diving coach Yuri Suguiyama

Former University of California coach will take reigns as head coach in 2018-2019 for Wisconsin
Danny Farber

The University of Wisconsin swimming and diving program will have new leadership standing poolside for their 2018-19 campaign and beyond as UW Athletics has announced Yuri Suguiyama will be taking over as head coach.

Suguiyama joins the UW team having spent his previous six years as the associate head coach of the men’s program at the University of California Berkley. When speaking to UW Athletics, UW’s Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez couldn’t curb his enthusiasm at prying Suguiyama away from the sunny shores of California.

“We’re excited to bring Yuri to Madison,” Alvarez said. “His track record as a coach speaks for itself, but he will also bring great energy to our program.”


The 35-year-old Suguiyama already has a revered coaching resume under his belt. Some of his more impressive accolades as associate head coach at Cal include helping guide the Bears to the 2014 National Title and a streak of 28 consecutive dual meet wins in 2018.

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In addition to his collegiate duties at Cal, Suguiyama has also spent time with the USA National Team. He had assistant coaching roles at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships, 2015 World University Games and was a special assistant to the national team director for Team USA at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. He also graduated to the position of men’s head coach for Team USA’s campaign at the 2016 FINA Short Course World Championships in Canada.

Now with his new role at Wisconsin Suguiyama is eager to build upon his already impressive career, this time as a head coach.

“It has been a dream of mine to lead a program, and there’s no better place to do so than at a school that has so much to offer, like Wisconsin,” Suguiyama said to UW athletics. “I want to thank Coach Alvarez and senior associate athletic director Marija Pientka for this opportunity.”

Suguiyama also said he was “excited and humbled” at his opportunity to lead both the Badger men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs.

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Suguiyama takes over from Whitney Hite who had an up and down seven-year tenure at the helm of UW Swimming and Diving. Under Hite’s leadership, the team finished in the top 15 at the NCAA Championships for four seasons in a row — 13th place being their best finish which they achieved in 2014 and 2015.

In his conversation with UW Athletics Suguiyama expressed his eagerness to get to work in his new role and how he will look to take the team to even greater heights.

“I’m looking forward to building upon the program’s tradition by getting to know our current team, putting together an awesome staff and recruiting student-athletes of high character who are good fits for Wisconsin both academically and athletically,” Suguiyama said. “I can’t wait to get started.”

Badger athletes will also be keen to get in the pool and learn under the tutelage of Suguiyama who has coached a number of standout swimmers over the years. One being five-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky who swam under the guidance of Suguiyama as a 15-year-old at the Nation’s Capital Swim Club in Washington, D.C..

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One of the more exciting athletes Suguiyama will coach this year is Beata Nelson. Nelson most recently came off of a silver medal in the 100 backstroke last month and won two gold medals in individual events in the Big Ten Championships in February.

In addition to his coaching success, Suguiyama has a proven record in the pool himself, having swum for North Carolina. By the time he had graduated in 2004, he had been named as an All-ACC selection three times, an All-American his senior year and held the Tar Heels’ men’s records for 1000 and 1650-yard freestyle.

The final event left on the swimming and diving schedule for Suguiyama this year is the USA Swimming National Championships which will go from July 25-29 in Irvine, California.

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