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Swimming 4 km To Graduate

Japan has a long history of open water swimming – and it shows in their education system.

The School of Health and Physical Education of the University of Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture is considered to be one of the very best, if not the best, in Japan.

Its graduates become great coaches, influential members in sporting organizations and at the Ministry of Education, physical trainers, physiologists, and thought leaders in exercise.

Within an intellectual atmosphere, its students are put through a rigorous curriculum outlining dozens of various sports and taught various theories of health and sport sciences. In their sophomore year, they join one of the three professional specializations: Health and Sport Education, Health and Sport Management, and Sport Coaching. In their junior and senior years, the students then major in one of the three academic courses of health and sport sciences: Physical Education and Sport Studies, Health and Human Performance Studies, or Coaching Studies.

The final requirement for graduation is the completion of an undergraduate thesis…and a variety of sporting tests on the track, in the gym, and with a variety of exercise equipment. But the most difficult part of their graduation requirement is reporting the swimming tests that include swimming underwater (25m), swimming 500m non-stop in a pool, eggbeating with hands out of the water for 3 minutes, and a cold-water 4 km ocean swim that requires all students to complete within 2 hours.

And the students start young.

The students at the Junior High School at Otsuka, a junior high school affiliated with the University of Tsukuba, also practice open water swimming (shown above).

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