The 35-year-old Suguiyama comes to Wisconsin after six seasons as men’s associate head coach at Cal, where he helped guide the Bears to one national title in 2014 and five national runner-up finishes. Before that, he is best known for being the personal coach of five-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky at Nation’s Capital Swim Club. Suguiyama was also an assistant coach for Team USA at the 2016 Olympics and served as the head U.S. men’s coach at the 2016 FINA Short Course World Championships in Canada.
“We’re excited to bring Yuri to Madison,” UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez said in a release. “His track record as a coach speaks for itself, but he will also bring great energy to our program. His passion for the sport and the athletes he’s coaching will only make us better.”
Suguiyama expressed his excitement to join the Badgers’ athletic department as well.
“I am both excited and humbled to join the University of Wisconsin as the head coach of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs,” Suguiyama said. “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’s specialty is distance-to-middle-distance freestyle, which is what Wisconsin has been well-known for over the past few years. He takes over a program that is rife with young talent and is poised to improve upon their fifth (women) and sixth (men) finishes at the Big Ten Championships.
“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. I can’t wait to get started,” Suguiyama said.
Sugiyama replaces Whitney Hite, who was UW’s coach for seven seasons and was fired on March 24.
It is not yet known who Suguiyama will hire to fill out his staff.
Update 7:06 p.m.: This story was updated to add quotes from Suguiyama and Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez. A previous version of this story also stated that Yuri Suguiyama was 34 years old. He is 35 years old. The Daily Cardinal regrets this error.