In a potential blow to the morale of Japanese Olympic swimming, World champion and Olympic medalist Daiya Seto has vacated his post as team captain.
It was recently revealed in Asian press and confirmed by 26-year-old Seto that the dad of two had engaged in an extramarital affair. The situation came to light last week, with Seto issuing a formal public apology.
On September 24th, Seto said in a statement released by his management company, “My careless act hurt my precious family and caused trouble and dismay for all my supporters, sponsoring companies and many other people.”
“With deep remorse, I would like to discuss with my family what to do next.”
Now The Japan Times is reporting that Seto visiting the Japan Swimming Federation (JASF) today, September 30th and submitted his resignation as captain for next year’s Olympic Games. He was nominated for the role in January of this year based on large part to his become Japan’s first-ever double IM World champion with his 200m IM and 400m IM victories in Gwangju. Those gold medal-worthy performances earned the man an automatic bid to compete at a home-based Olympic Games; it still holds with the postponement as well.
Regarding his team captain resignation, a federation executive told The Japan Times, Seto said, “I’m very sorry. I want to do my best to restore peoples’ trust, so I ask for your continuing support in this effort.”
Seto’s decision is set to be reviewed at a JASF Executive Board meeting scheduled for October 6th.
Seto also relinquished his image-rights agreement with the Japanese Olympic Committee, as well as severed his ties with corporate sponsor All Nippon Airways Co. (AN), per the airline’s request. (The Japan Times).
“We have been supporting Seto, but this problem does not fit with the image our company hopes to project,” the company said through a communications officer.
Coming off of a red-hot year of breaking records and taking names in the pool, Seto was primed to be on top of the world at a Tokyo Olympic Games. With the postponement of the Olympics to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic brought intense feelings of sadness and despair for Seto who in April said, “I couldn’t think of anything positive to say because I had dedicated myself so much to the Tokyo Olympics. When the postponement was announced I was left with a gaping hole I couldn’t fill – I was empty.
“There was no way I could bring myself to talk about next year and honestly, I’m still struggling to pick up the pieces and regroup.”