Ohashi Becomes Japan’s First-Ever Female Professional Swimmer

The nation of Japan has made two major strides on the women-making-an-impact-in-swimming front with both Yui Ohashi and Sakiko Shimizu making some waves.

First, for double Olympic champion Ohashi, the 26-year-0ld has officially become the first-ever female professional Japanese swimmer.

Following in the footsteps of other professional swimmers to the tune of Kosuke Kitajima, Kosuke Hagino, Ippei Watanabe and Daiya Seto, Ohashi is now the 5th professional athlete from Japan.

This means Ohashi will now be primarily responsible for expenses related to training camps and trips. However, the restrictions on Ohashi’s commercial activities will be relaxed, which opens the door for more earning opportunities heading into Paris 2024.

Ohashi was a two-time Olympic champion in Tokyo, reaping gold in the 200m IM and 400m IM.

For retired 29-year-old Shimizu, the 400m IM finalist from Rio has taken over as head coach of Nippon Sports Science University swim team.

Shimizu take the helm of the storied program which, at one time, was the home of Kosuke Kitajima, Yasuhiro Koseki and Chihiro Igarashi.

Following the 2021 Japan Swim, the meet which represented the nation’s sole Olympic-qualifying opportunity, Shimizu announced her retirement.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

What a terrible situation and forced decision making process the Japanese swimming federation imposes on the swimmers.

So they have to choose from not be rewarded for their achievements and having their training expenses paid for or collecting endorsements and not having expenses paid for? Basically a lose-lose situation for their athletes. Hopefully she makes enough so she can at least live life and not just try and survive and hope she can pay for her next trip.

Terrible that they won’t support athletes and let them make a bit of money on the side.

1 year ago

Wow, did not know this. So really she is the first female with enough endorsement opportunity to offset losing whatever stipend Japan gives to national teamers? Or stipend plus travel costs? Now I want to know more about Japan’s swimmer support so I can compare it to what USA Swimming does…

1 year ago

le goat

katie’s gator cap :)
1 year ago

queen omg

1 year ago

So is this defining professional as financially independent from the Japanese federation through endorsements? Or was Takeshi Matsuda working on the side his entire 14+ year international career?

Reply to  Reid
1 year ago

Matsuda is a hustler, he’s in every swim related video coming out of japan.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

Read More »