Csaba Sós Dr.: The 17th World Championships are special for Hungarian swimming sport
In addition to top Hungarian swimmers of continuous high level performance protagonists at the 17th FINA World Championships may feature newcomers, as well, who have been highly successful lately and carry the potential to surprise the audience in Duna Arena. Katinka Hosszú will enter 6 events and she will participate in relays, s well, if they can make it to the finals. Head coach Csaba Sós Dr. considers the World Championships one of the most special events in the history of swimming in Hungary because the event brings different generations together.
All, that is 42 events (including 8 relays) will feature Hungarian contenders in the swimming tournament of the 17th FINA World Championships. The registration has finished now, the final roster of the Hungarian team and the swimming schedule are ready.
Katinka Hosszú has also announced which events she wishes to enter, and in light of her decision Evelyn Verrasztó will enter 100m and 200m freestyle, Ajna Késely will race in 400m freestyle while Sára Joó will represent Hungary in 50m backstroke. The preliminary list drawn up after the nationals in April has not been modified substantially, the only difference is that since then Flóra Molnár has achieved A level in 50m butterfly.
„We will witness some remarkable experiences at the World Championships, concerning that there was, or in fact there is a generation which dominated Hungarian and international swimming for 10-15 years and which will enter probably its last major international tournament now, yet this generation is still capable of surprising the audience with astonishing accomplishments. At the same time, there is another generation which –I am convinced- will dominate the upcoming 10-15 years the same way. We will see these generations together in Duna Arena, this will mark a landmark in Hungarian swimming. Past, present and future will feature the Championships, in my view this will be the first and maybe the last occasion like this. What is more, in light of recent result-including the ones achieved in Netanya at the European Junior Championships- youngsters may become protagonists in the tournament” – Csaba Sós dr. highlighted the peculiarity of the World Championships.
Were you surprised at Katinka Hosszú announcing that she would enter 100 and 200m backstroke, 200m freestyle and 200m butterfly, as well as 200m and 400m medley? – we asked the Hungarian head coach.
Regarding that Katinka is a top class swimmer in all swimming events but breaststroke there was nothing surprising about her choice of events. In my opinion the programme she chose herself is appropriate and realistic. When we negotiated with her management I suggested they should consider planning her programme aiming at claiming the highest number of gold medals, this was to be the guiding principle. Secondly, another objective is to win as many medals as possible. If you ask me, it is way better to win a gold rather than to have a silver and a 7th placement for instance. I encouraged her to decide what she wishes to undertake. She decided that she would enter relays only if they make it to the finals. We tend to forget that Katinka loves to race. She will be available for relays even if the relay team is likely to finish eight for example. It is a nice gesture and a correct undertaking from an Olympic and world champion.
This year the guiding principle of the qualification process was quite different, after the nationals in April the places of 2 top swimmers (who did A level) were secured. Obviously it will be easier to decide whether this decision was right or not afterwards. What is your opinion, do you think it was a good idea?
This qualification principle is prevailing this year only. Although it is my competence, responsibility and task, I do not make such decisions on my own. There are excellent, competent, highly experienced, successful experts, professionals, coaches working from dust till dawn in Hungarian swimming. I say that not just as the usual courtesy, but a nine-member board of coaches has made this programme as well as the decision not to keep this qualification principle for the next year and the nationals will also be scheduled differently considering the date of next year’s international tournament.
Kristóf Milák made an amazing performance in 200m butterfly at the European Junior Championships. Have you considered delegating him in this event or providing him the opportunity to enter a separate competition with László Cseh and Tamás Kenderesi?
I haven’t thought about changing the original scenario. It was decided at the very beginning that Kristóf would enter 100m. Undoubtedly he did an excellent performance last time in 200m. This is an event all top class swimmers have swum. Katinka was a World Championships medallist, Krisztina Egerszegi was a European champion, Andrea Gyarmati, György Tumpek, Mark Spitz, Michael Phelps and a number of renowned swimmers have done this event. This event features the greatest talents. It is a difficult one, but for those who are good at it, this event offers an outstanding experience. Apparently those good at 200m butterfly are mentally better prepared than others typically. Kristóf is one of them. 200m butterfly saw highly exciting and remarkable heats in the recent past which we will be talking about in the future. For instance in Kazan, where Chad Le Clos is medium form could challenge another top swimmer, highly experienced László Cseh so that we were about to have a heart attack all the time. Remember Rio, where Tamás Kenderesi could challenge Phelps twice but did not manage to do so for the third time. The most recent tournament in Rome saw some exciting heats, too, so as you can see a lot of surprising things have happened and may happen any time and we should not forget that a young swimmer does not have extensive experience yet. No matter if their performance is similar, there is a certain factor which comes with age. I didn’t want to put these three swimmers in this situation no matter how brilliant Kristóf’s performance was. Yet currently Kristóf Milák is like a foal, full of energy, kicking the fences in the paddock waiting to hear the door opening to be released. He has the potential to finish from 1st to 16th in 100m butterfly. Anything can happen.
Overall can we conclude that you have good feeling ahead of the World Championships regarding the Hungarian team?
Yes, we can, definitely, adding that all nations from Suriname through Tunisia, from Ireland to Singapore, to Belgium, to New Zealand have Olympic and world champions. All countries take swimming seriously, what is more, swimming is a key discipline in traditional swimming nations, including the US, Russia, France, Japan, China, Italy, Germany and Australia, they delegate extremely strong teams, they also put their hopes into their top contenders. There will be very close results, but knowing what a difference a home crowd can make, we can hope the best. All in all, I anticipate that we would have a somewhat better performance than what rankings would assume.
Somewhat different from pool events, Kristóf Rasovszky will enter 1500m as well. Recently he has clinched 2 gold in 10k which surprised many. How did you react?
We realised Rasó’s special potential long ago. Last year he won the Junior Championships in the event which features the Olympic programme, so it is quite promising. This year he swept whatever he entered, just like in the case of the nationals, he participates in all open water swimming teams with the best time, he achieved A level in 1500m so anything can happen really. He is a great hope in the future, it is no secret we expect a lot from him.