Johnny in Japan

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In October of 1928, Weissmuller was part of a special team of a few athletes that was invited to Japan to compete in exhibiton meets for swimming fan Crown Prince Chichibu’s wedding celebration. Swimmer Katsuo Takaishi, who had competed against him in the Olympics, warned Johnny and Bachrach that the Japanese intended to prevail by virtue of the fact that they were used to swimming in frigid water. So he and his teammates “trained” by taking twice daily baths in ice water in their hotel, and remained undefeated in their meets. Ironically, he was then asked to become the Olympic swimming coach for that country. This ice water training would serve him well later when making the Tarzan movies, as when performing on camera with live alligators and hippopotami, the water on set would be chilled so as to render the giant beasts sluggish.

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