2005. 3. 4 Detroit Free Press

日時:2005年 3月4日
内容:Detroit Free Press記事


SHO TIME: In just two years, Japanese-born swimmer Sho Koba has made his mark in Michigan 

March 4, 2005 

It was the summer of 2003, and Sho Koba had just moved from Toyota City, Japan, to Ann Arbor and begun to train with the Ann Arbor Swim Club. 
As Koba swam the first leg of the 800 freestyle relay in the Domino's Swim Classic, in an adjacent lane was Klete Keller, who would go on to anchor the U.S. 800 relay to an Olympic gold medal a year later. 
Keller recorded a 1:53 for the first leg and Koba touched in 1:56, impressive considering he hadn't yet begun his sophomore year in high school. 
Keller, who can be loud and outgoing, slapped Koba on the back and proclaimed: "It's Sho Time!" 
Koba didn't understand much English at the time, but Keller's message was not lost in translation. 
Koba understood "Sho Time." Next weekend the rest of the state's swimmers may understand it, too. 

Koba, a junior, is one of the favorites to capture state titles when he competes in the 100- and 200-yard freestyles for Ann Arbor Pioneer at the Division 1 meet at Eastern Michigan. 
He has posted the state's best times this season in the 200 free (1:42.44) and 500 free (4:40.01) and the fourth-best time in the 100 free (47.45). 
It is not a coincidence that Koba enrolled at Pioneer after his father, Hiro, was transferred to the Toyota Tech Center. 

"His father came and spoke to me," Pioneer coach Denny Hill said. "They were going to pick out a school before they picked out a house." 
Although he planned to enroll at Pioneer, Koba entertained thoughts of swimming all year for Club Wolverine instead of in high school. 

"I met Sho the first day of swimming," said Pioneer junior Rob Steele. "Me and Jason Hass were swimming for Ann Arbor Swim Club and we tried to get Sho to come here and swim with us. I just wanted him on our team. We'd only seen him in practice, but we wanted to keep him as a teammate." 

Koba never thought he would be such a valued commodity when he began swimming, at age 6. 
"My friends started swimming, so I started with them," he said. "At first I couldn't make the practice intervals. I started competing when I was 11." 
He began competing and winning when he was 11 and built a national reputation at a young age. In middle school he won at the state level and advanced to the nationals, where he was fourth in the 200 freestyle and sixth in the 100 free. 

Then came a reluctant move to the United States, which meant finding a new school, new friends and a new place to swim, not necessarily in that order. 
"At first I didn't want to come," Koba said. "It was the language, the food. It's a different world. My father said if I didn't want to come I could stay and I would swim at the swimming center." 
But the more Koba thought about moving, the more the idea appealed to him. 
"I wanted to learn English," he said. "I wanted to learn a new culture. America is better in swimming, too. There are more professional swimmers in America." 
So Koba made the move and has adjusted well, even if he doesn't particularly care for the food. 
"Lots of fat," he said, making a face. 
As Steele recalled, "After practice for Ann Arbor Swim we tried getting him to go out to eat with us. We'd be piling food on our plates and he'd get something small. But he got me into Japanese food, which I've got to tell you I love." 

Koba's adjustment to Pioneer was easier because the school offers an English as a Second Language course. It has helped him learn the language. 
"It's gotten a little better this year," Koba said. "I couldn't speak very much at first, so it was hard to have conversation or study. History was hard and so was chemistry. But math is just numbers." 
The easiest part of the transition has been swimming, though Koba has worked through a few rough spots. 

For starters was his start. 
Koba used to have a flat start off the blocks, but Coach Hill had him switch to a track start. When Koba tried that technique, he would kick his legs up behind him as he entered the water. 
It looks awkward and it about sent Hill into a tizzy, so he tried to make Koba's entry smoother. 
"He said I should be straight," Koba said. 
But no matter how he tried to change his entry into the water, Koba still kicked his legs behind him. 
"We really tried to get rid of the kick," Hill said, "but we came to the conclusion maybe it's not something we want to get rid of. He gets out so far into the water that way." 
Koba uses that leg action to help with a dolphin kick underwater, and it aids in his quick start. 
"Sho has a long torso and short legs," Hill said. "He gets off the wall so quickly it's scary. When he needs to go fast, his legs go like crazy." 

Getting Koba to go fast all the time has been difficult. Part of it may be a language problem. 
A few years ago Hill coached Kara Lynn Joyce, a two-time Olympic silver medalist in 2004 and the one with whom Hill compares all high school swimmers. 
"I don't want it to seem like Sho isn't a hard worker, because he is," Hill said. "He can do things in practice, but he doesn't do them all of the time. He's not like Kara Lynn. She did everything fast. She got dressed fast." 
Koba takes a more casual approach to Pioneer's practices. 
"If he says fast, I go fast," Koba said. "If he doesn't say anything, I think about my stroke technique." 

While Koba is thinking about his stroke, Hill is thinking about his kick, which is what helps separate him from other swimmers in the state. 
"When he has to pick up his kick, it is just amazing," Hill said. "You can work on your kick and you can make it a little better, but with Sho it's innate -- it's in the kid." 
Perhaps Koba's sometimes casual approach paid dividends a year ago at the state meet when he lined up to swim in the preliminaries of the 200 free. 

Koba wore a suit from Japan, which had a large Speedo logo. Hill and his wife, Liz, who is his assistant coach, thought the logo might be too large and could be cause for disqualification. 
"I asked one of the judges and he said it was too big," Hill said. "So Liz went and got some duct tape and I was putting the tape over the logo. The judge said if the tape fell off, he would be disqualified, so I was wrapping it around his leg, trying not to cut off circulation. 
"Most kids would have blown their minds if that happened, but it didn't affect Sho at all. He just stuck his leg out and let me tape it and then he qualified first in the preliminary." 
Koba won the 200 free title and was second in the 100. Next Friday and Saturday he is favored to win both. 

He is also favored to do great things in swimming down the road. He hopes to qualify for the Japanese national team and compete in the Olympics for his native country. 
But for now, he is concerned only with his new school and fitting in. 
"When I first came here I didn't understand much," Koba said. "But swimming words like intervals and sets are the same words in Japan. Now I can hear better, I understand better. This is my second year on the swim team and I like my teammates." 

And they like Sho Time.

ショータイム: 日本生まれの古場 勝は2年刊でミシガンに足跡を残している。

それは2003年の夏、古場 勝が日本の豊田市からアナーバーに移ってきて、アナーバー スイム クラブで練習を始めた時のことだった。ドミノ スイム クラッシクの800自由形リレーで、クリート ケラー(後にアテネオリンピックの800自由形リレーでアンカーを泳ぎ、金メダルを獲得。)の隣で、第1泳で泳いだ時、ケラーは第1泳で1:56を記録し、古場は1:56でタッチした。 それは、印象的であった高校のソフォモア(高校4年間の2年目、日本の高校1年生)が始まる前であった。

ケラーは大きな声で気さくに「It's Sho Time!」と、古場の背中をたたきながら言った。古場はこのときあまり英語は分からなかったが、このケラーの言葉は忘れなかった。

古場は「Sho Time」を理解した。来週、ミシガン州の残りの選手もそれがわかるだろう。

パイオニア高校ジュニアの古場は、イースタン ミシガン大学で行われるディビジョン1のステート大会の100自由形と200自由形で、タイトルを獲得する候補者の一人である。彼は今シーズン、200自由形(1:42.44 その後更新して1:40.99)と500自由形(4:40.01)でミシガン州のトップタイムを出しており、100自由形(47.45 その後更新して46.57)では4番目のタイムを出している。

古場の父"ヒロ"がトヨタテクニカルセンターに異動した後、古場がパイオニア高校に入学したのは偶然ではない。「彼の父がここに来て話をした。」とパイオニアのコーチ デニー ヒルは言った。「彼らは家を決める前に学校を探していた。」

彼はパイオニア高校に入ろうとしていたが、1年間をクラブ ウォルバリンで泳ぐことも考えていた。

「僕は水泳の練習の初日に勝に会った。」とパイオニア高校ジュニアのロブ スチールが言った。「僕とジェイソン ハスはアナーバー スイム クラブで泳いでおり、僕たちは勝を自分たちのチームに入れようとした。僕は勝を自分たちのチームに本当にほしかった。僕たちは練習の時にしか彼を見なかったが、チームメイトとして欲しかった。」






「アナーバー スイム クラブの練習後、彼を食事に連れ出した。僕たちは皿の上のものを全部平らげたが、彼は少ししか食べなかった。でも彼は僕を好物の日本食に連れて行ってくれた。」とスチールは言った。

古場のパイオニア高校への適応は、学校がESL(English as a Second Language)のコースを用意したため順調であった。ESLは英語を習うのに助けとなった。「今年は英語は少し良くなった。」「初めはあまり沢山話せなかったので、会話や勉強が大変だった。歴史や化学は難しかった。でも数学は数字だけだから。」と古場は言った。




古場を常に速く泳がせることは難しい。その一部は言葉の問題もあるかもしれない。ヒルは数年前にコーチした、2004年のオリンピックで二つの銀メダルを獲得したキャラ リン ジョイスと比較した。「勝を練習熱心でないと見るつもりはない。彼は練習中頑張ることが出来る。でも、彼は常にそうはしない。彼はキャラ リン ジョイスみたいではない。彼女は何事も速かった。彼女は本当に速かった。」






そして彼らもSho Timeを楽しんでいる。