The Three-Year Swim Club
The Untold Story of the Sugar Ditch Kids and Their Quest for Olympic Glory
By Julie Checkoway
New York Times bestseller. For readers of Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken and Daniel James Brown's The Boys in the Boat. The inspirational story of a group of impoverished children who were transformed into champion swimmers.
In 1937 an ordinary school teacher on the island of Maui took a group of under privileged children, most of Japanese ancestry, and trained them to become Olympic swimmers. He called his plan the 'Three-Year Swim Club' and he succeeded in producing true American heroes whose story has never been told.
None of the barefoot children had ever laid eyes on a pool. Their only experience in water was playing naked in the filthy irrigation ditches that snaked down from the mountains and into the sugar cane fields. And the coach knew nothing about coaching and couldn't swim a lap to save his life. But, against all odds, and during a period of history marked by virulent racism and the Second World War, the children embarked on an unlikely path that led them to become celebrated swimmers from LA to London, and real-life American heroes.
Julie Checkoway is an author and documentary filmmaker. She graduated from Harvard College, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts individual artist grant and fellowships at writers' colonies, including Yaddo. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Salt Lake Tribune and Huffington Post.
- Other details
- Publication date:
27 Oct 2015
- Page count:
Tense, vivid and inspiring — Kirkus
This captivating non-fiction, featuring engaging individuals and portraying a tumultuous time in history, chronicles Hawaii's second golden age of swimming. Sports and history enthusiasts will enjoy this title as much as book clubs and general readers — Library Review
This story of one (at first) seemingly unremarkable man and his effect on camp children and the world of swimming is both inconceivable and dazzling. You won't want to miss it — Bookreporter
Checkoway's ability to set a scene is uncanny and accomplished. Her top-notch skill as a researcher allows her to bring to life the long-forgotten saga — Publishers Weekly