In two seasons contributing his coaching expertise to the Golden Bears, Yuri Suguiyama has been instrumental in Cal’s men’s swimming and diving’s success, helping David Durden’s squad to a national runner-up finish in 2013 and the NCAA team championship in 2014. For his outstanding work during the 2013-14 campaign, Suguiyama was named the College Swimming Coaches Association of America’s Assistant Coach of the Year.
Working primarily with the Bears’ middle-distance and distance corps, Suguiyama, 31, has mentored some top individuals at Cal. This past season he helped senior Jeremy Bagshaw establish three school records in the distance free (500 free, 1000 free, 1650 free), sophomore Josh Prenot break school records in the 200 IM and 400 IM and freshman Ryan Murphy win NCAA titles in the 100 and 200 back in record times.
In addition, the Bears have captured back-to-back Pac-12 team titles and have won 15 consecutive dual meets during Suguiyama’s time at Cal. Prenot (2013) and Murphy (2014) were Pac-12 Newcomers of the Year, as well.
Prior to joining the Bears, Suguiyama was the coach of the Nation’s Capital Swim Club out of the Washington D.C. area for six years and was renowned for his work with then 15-year-old Olympic champion Katie Ledecky, who won the 800-meter freestyle at both the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials and the London Games.
Ledecky was not Suguiyama’s only standout. His club broke 19 Potomac Valley records, were ranked at the top nationally in 12 different events, and were on the top 100 lists all-time for 19 different events. Suguiyama was a member of the USA coaching staff for the 2012 Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Honolulu, Hawaii and was a nominee for the 2012 Coach of the Year Award by the American Swim Coaches Association.
“It’s an honor to join the Cal men’s swimming program with an opportunity to contribute to the championship culture Dave Durden has created in Berkeley,” said Suguiyama upon his hiring. “I’m excited to be able to work with the student-athletes and become a member of this great university and its local communities.”
Besides coaching the Nation’s Capital Swim Club, where Suguiyama was also a standout competitor, he competed collegiately at the University of North Carolina where he was a first-team NCAA All-American selection as a senior and was named All-ACC for three years. Suguiyama was selected as co-captain his senior year and completed his Tar Heel career holding the school records in the 1000 and 1650-yard freestyles.
During his college career, Suguiyama was named second-team District Three At-Large Academic All-America by the College Sports Information Directors of America while earning degrees in both political science and economics in 2004.
"I have watched Yuri during his coaching career,” said Durden. “His intellect, his organization, and the culture he promotes within his environment are the very aspects we value within our Cal swimming family. We happily welcomed him to the pool deck, and I enjoy working side by side with such a great coach and great person."