Description: Hand-Painted Paper Fan
Awarded to: Dad Center
To our dear Dad Center
Japanese Swimming Girls 1929
(signed by 5 girls)
Outrigger Canoe Club’s George “Dad” Center was instrumental in the development of swimmers in Japan. Dad made it possible for a team of Japanese swimmers to visit Hawaii in 1925, the first time a team of Japanese swimmers ever performed in the United States. Center took it upon himself to underwrite the swim meet in Hawaii so the Japanese swimmers could participate. That meet started Japan on the upswing in the aquatic world. In 1926, the Hawaiian AAU received an invitation to send a team of swimmers to Japan. Dad was selected to lead the team where he continued the pioneer work of establishing swimming in Japan. A year later Center took another team of swimmers to Japan with great success. In 1929, Japan’s four leading girl swimmers were brought to Hawaii for the AAU Women’s National Outdoor Championships at the Waikiki Memorial Pool (Natatorium). The visit of the Japanese girl swimmers marked the first time a team of girl athletes had ever been sent outside of Japan to enter competition. While the teams were in Hawaii, Dad coached them with the blessing of their own coaches and they performed well in the meets and went on to enjoy success in the Olympic Games and on the world stage. Signers: Kimiko Kikuchi, N. Matsugawa, Yukige Nakamura, Hideko Maehata and Masaki Iimura.