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Shiraishi's legacy carried on by his swimmers at Sakamoto meet

May 28, 2014 - Robert Collias
If there ever was a sport that Maui can call its own, it is swimming.

No one outside of Soichi Sakamoto himself did more for the sport than the late, great Spencer Shiraishi, the founder of the 40-year-old Soichi Sakamoto Invitational and the Maui Swim Club.

I was fortunate enough to call Shiraishi a friend and a source. The quiet, unassuming gentleman would hand deliver press releases to our office at The Maui News., where he once worked for more than 40 years. Writing those press releases for our use was something I did numerous times over the years and something I miss, believe it or not.

I have been buried under all-star assignments lately, but colleague Chris Sugidono was at the 40th annual Sakamoto meet over the weekend and wrote this piece that says a ton about Sakamoto and his legacy, which lives on in his swimmers:

KAHULUI - Each year the Soichi Sakamoto Memorial Invitational honors the late Maui coach who helped swimmers capture multiple medals at the Olympics.

For the meet's 40th year, however, Sakamoto shared the honor with the longtime coach who started the event: Spencer Shiraishi.

"This has been a meet where we all pulled together in memory of my dad," Shiraishi's son, Spencer Shiraishi Jr., said Saturday morning at Sakamoto Pool. "My dad would really not want to be honored or lifted up, and would say, 'No, no, no this is the Sakamoto swim meet.' But what we did was just acknowledge and honor Coach Shiraishi and all that he has done."

Click here for the rest of the story.


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