The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has presented the Hungarian female swimming icon with its most prestigious award, which was received by Ms. Hosszú on 1 December in Doha. The Qatari capital is also to host the short course swimming championships in the coming days, at which she is expected to be a strong contender to a number of titles.
While six candidates were nominated for FINA’s title of the year’s best female swimmer, expectations were met as two contenders stood out of the field at the deciding vote. Katinka Hosszú won six medals at the European championships; of her three gold medals, two (200 metre individual medley and 100 metre backstroke) were won on the same day. No Hungarian swimmer has ever made this remarkable achievement before.
She gained her third gold in 400 metre individual medley at an event held in August in Berlin; she also had a silver in 200 freestyle and two bronze medals in 200 butterfly and as the last to hit the pool in 4×200 medley, catching up from sixth place.
In the short course world championship series, she won 51 gold medals, coming first in 16 out of 17 events in the Hungarian championship. In the World Cup series, she broke the world record in a total of five occasions, once beating two best times in a single day.
“It is formidable and an enormous honour. I have been chosen despite two others – Katie Ledecky and Sarah Sjöström – also swimming a world record and achieving outstanding results. It is one of the greatest recognitions I have ever received duringn my career. I was asked by many before the awards ceremony whether I’m excited and I told everyone I’m not, because I completed the work and reached the results; what was up to me, I had ready before the gala. It is an unbelievably good feeling that the voters decided this way”, Ms. Hosszú said. She continued to say that the receiving such a grand award means that she has been successful even before the world championships have started, commenting that she is always asked to give her opinion on the season even though the World Cup, which is the highlight of short course events, is yet to begin.
“I distinctly feel that I will swim even easier from Wednesday. I don’t have the pressure of having to show something up because otherwise the year won’t be so glorious. But the motivation within me is as strong as ever, as is, of course, excitement; I can’t wait to go to the swimming pool for the competition to begin. I can rejoice in competing and have a smile on my face while thinking I’d still like to win in my chief events and to collect some bonus medals if possible”, she concluded.
photo: index. hu/István Huszti