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The Three-Year Swim Club Audiobook

The Three-Year Swim Club: The Untold Story of Maui's Sugar Ditch Kids and Their Quest for Olympic Glory

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Publisher's Summary

For listeners of Unbroken and The Boys in the Boat comes the inspirational, untold story of impoverished children who transformed themselves into world-class swimmers.

In 1937, a schoolteacher on the island of Maui challenged a group of poverty-stricken sugar plantation kids to swim upstream against the current of their circumstance. The goal? To become Olympians.

They faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The children were Japanese-American, were malnourished and barefoot, and had no pool; they trained in the filthy irrigation ditches that snaked down from the mountains into the sugarcane fields. Their future was in those same fields, working alongside their parents in virtual slavery, known not by their names but by numbered tags that hung around their necks. Their teacher, Soichi Sakamoto, was an ordinary man whose swimming ability didn't extend much beyond treading water.

In spite of everything, including the virulent anti-Japanese sentiment of the late 1930s, in their first year the children outraced Olympic athletes twice their size; in their second year, they were national and international champs, shattering American and world records and making headlines from LA to Nazi Germany. In their third year, they'd be declared the greatest swimmers in the world, but they'd also face their greatest obstacle: the dawning of a world war and the cancellation of the games. Still, on the battlefield, they'd become the 20th century's most celebrated heroes, and in 1948 they'd have one last chance for Olympic glory.

They were the Three-Year Swim Club. This is their story.

©2015 Julie Checkoway (P)2015 Hachette Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (66 )
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4.2 (63 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Ann G. Tam Sing 05-14-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bad pronunciations"

    Interesting book but too many mispronunciations of Hawaiian and Japanese names, places and other words.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arabella 01-26-16
    Arabella 01-26-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story but the Hawaiian words get slaughtered"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The true story of plantation workers' kids from Maui making it to the US swim finals and Olympics is remarkable. Lots of history. Rewarding story.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Three-Year Swim Club?

    The story of the coach.


    What didn’t you like about Alex Chadwick’s performance?

    He did not study the Hawai'ian language and slaughtered words and place names. Listening to that aspect for me was a nightmare.
    I have complained before to audible that many of their readers when reading a foreign language have no knowledge and consequently hurt their listeners' ears with mispronunciations.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edna 09-15-16
    Edna 09-15-16
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    "Great Book to Read!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Three-Year Swim Club the most enjoyable?

    I loved hearing the stories since they were similar to those I heard in HI while I was growing up. But listening to them was painful to my ears so I could only stand to listen in little snips.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Alex Chadwick’s performances?

    However, how hard he tried, Alex Chadwick mangled many of the Japanese and Hawaiian words. His English pronunciation was fine so he may be a great reader for a book without those foreign words.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    go dog go 08-21-16
    go dog go 08-21-16
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    "Great story, needed a different reader"

    Being from Hawai'i and just one generation out from the events in this book, I loved the book. It held me rapt the entire time. The only criticism I have is that the publishers should have chosen a more appropriate reader. The narration was full of mispronunciations that were galling in light of the discrimination the swimmers and coach faced. The reader never even pronounced the name of Soichi Sakamoto correctly.

    Beyond that, the story is an important one and Julie Checkoway did a wonderful job of retelling it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JanChris 04-17-16
    JanChris 04-17-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Rooting for the Underdog"
    If you could sum up The Three-Year Swim Club in three words, what would they be?

    Practice Makes Perfect


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Three-Year Swim Club?

    Towards the beginning when they had a meet in Honolulu and they actually beat the existing favorites.


    What does Alex Chadwick bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Great narration, good tone, perfect inflections and pacing.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was in awe of Soichi's commitment and determination to give these kids the chance to rise above their circumstances. I learned a lot about the hardships and slavery surrounding the plantation workers and the rise and fall of the sugar industry in Hawaii.


    Any additional comments?

    This story needed to be told and Julie Checkoway did a brilliant job of telling it. It has a smooth blend of what it means to become a champion and what can happen to a person when they are not prepared for the limelight. The historical facts support the story in a way that gives the reader a perspective into the decisions of the main characters.I would recommend this book to anyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Susanne Brown 04-08-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Excellent!"

    A wonderful story! It is amazing what a difference one person can make in another persons life. I loved that he saw something special in the kids and set out to give them a dream. Well told!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah C. Hasbrook Indianapolis, IN 03-14-16
    Sarah C. Hasbrook Indianapolis, IN 03-14-16 Member Since 2010
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    "Swimmer or not, great story!"

    This book could prove to be a bit fact laden for a non swimmer. But to an avid fan of the sport it was extremely interesting. I recognized and know of several of those mentioned. Also very interesting was the background of modern swimming techniques. Great inspirational story for anyone , swimmer or not!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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