Swimming To Tokyo - Kazuya Suzuki Gets It Done

Swimming To Tokyo – Kazuya Suzuki Gets It Done

Kazuya Suzuki, a formerly top-ranked competitive swimmer in Japan and currently a Panasonic employee, sheds his coat and tie in the early mornings and weekends. His love of swimming and the ocean led him to become the first person to swim from Oshima Island to the mainland of Japan (Chigasaki near Tokyo).

His 68K unprecedented swim took 22 hours and 6 minutes while being escorted by a TV crew and an outrigger canoe outfitted with a Shark Shield. The Japanese television coverage below documents his 42-mile solo swim. While the Japanese language may be hard to understand for most people, open water swimmers can understand the challenge of 29-year-old Suzuki-san swimming 42 miles in the open ocean, especially when sharks appear (watch at 3:40 in the video below).

However, it was the dreaded needlefish (called datsu in Japanese) that caused the most concern. The needlefish have long, narrow jaws filled with sharp teeth and are attracted to light. They can make short jumps out of the water at up to 61 km/h (38 mph) and can inflict deep puncture wounds, often breaking off inside the victim in the process. For this reason, Suzuki-san had to swim without illumination after sunset.

His August 2009 swim was documented as a world record in the marathon swimming world record list. More information on Suzuki-san can be found here in Japanese.

Copyright © 2011 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones