Thursday, May 16, 2013

Amagami Campus Pool a crown jewel of Madoka Athletics

[Image: saepool.jpg]

Amagami Campus Pool a crown jewel of Madoka Athletics

By John Hall
The Daily Magi
November 16, 2043

The Amagami Campus Pool is an 2,500-seat indoor facility with two 50-metre (160-foot) swimming pools and a 25-metre (82-foot) diving pool located on the campus of Mitakihara University in Mitakihara Town, British Columbia. Named in honor of the Amagami Foundation, which promotes marine aquatics and marine conservation in the Chubu Region of Japan, the campus pool is home to the Swimming and Diving Teams, who are 10-time NCAA Division I Champions, the 10-time NCAA Division I Champion Magi men's water polo team and the 15-time NCAA Division I Champion Puella Magi women's water polo team.

Sae Nakata, a conservationist who emigrated to Canada in 2025 after over a decade as the Amagami Foundation's Treasurer, is a season ticket holder of Puella Magi women's water polo. Whenever she enters the facility simply known as Amagami, she notices all the banners, all the championships hanging from the rafters, along with the flags of every nation on display.

"When I started the Foundation with Lovely [Haruka L. Morishima], who was the Foundation's first president; Ai [Nanasaki], the first secretary; Tsukasa [Ayatsuji], the first vice-president; Rihoko [Sakurai], the first CFO; and Kaoru [Tanamachi], the first Executive Director; we had enough money to donate to a university," said Nakata while watching the men's water polo team practice inside the pool ahead of their MPSF tournament. "We noticed this new university in Canada that was looking for a donor for their pool. We went through all the channels, got a donation of$30,000 CAN approved, and we sent it to the University.

"Then they asked us what they wanted us to call the pool. We settled on the name 'Amagami Campus Pool' because we wanted that to be our legacy. We wanted the pool to be a household name in Mitakihara Town and the university because we saw the potential that it had in developing great swimmers, divers and water polo players.

"Years pass, and I decide to Canada with my husband, Masayoshi Umehara, who is a sushi chef. After he closed down his father's restaurant, he wanted to move to Canada to start a new future in the form of an upscale Japanese restaurant in Madoka Square called Ume's. The restaurant got its first Michelin Star last year because of the staff of sous chefs. 

"Anyway, after I gave birth to our daughter, Hiromi, who is currently a freshman on the women's water polo team, I decided to watch the swim/dive meets at Amagami and also watch the water polo teams. The first game I watched was a match between the Magi men and Harvard. Madoka blew them apart, 15-3. After the match, I look up, and I see all these banners, these championship banners, hanging in the air.

"I am like, wow. And let's be honest here and you can quote me on this: this was the first time I was inside the pool, and I noticed they had already won some national and conference championships. The swim/dive and water polo programs are unbelievably good. I talked to the coaches, and I asked them: how did you guys do it? 

"They tell me, 'Well, Miss Nakata, we recruit students locally, and we especially recruit internationally. A lot of our players on the men's team come from Croatia, Italy, Serbia, Montenegro, Hungary and Spain, and almost all of them are good enough to make their respective Olympic teams.' It's the same thing with the women, but they primarily recruit students from Spain, the USA and Australia. A lot of Chinese divers study here, and we have a lot of Brazilians who do the sprints for the swim team. So it's really diverse.

"I think...the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that the legacy of the campus pool is built by the many Olympians that don the Rose, Pink and White. It's built by the athletes of the world that claim Madoka as their alma mater. Everybody tells me that the football team is the major draw to this school, but you have to consider that's Mitakihara University is more that just football. It's also academic excellence, and continued success from the other athletic teams, including the water polo and swimming/diving programs here. So when you put it all together, the Amagami Foundation's move to donate to Madoka was the best move we could have ever made."

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