The Hungarian swim team flew to Japan last week to begin final preparations and get acclimated for the Olympic Games. The opening ceremony is set to start on July 23rd in the Japanese capital of Tokyo at 8 pm local time. The swimming competitions will start the very next day, on July 24th. Both the captain of the Hungarian federation and the swimmers have expressed positive expectations. A total of 34 swimmers will take part in the games. Sports experts expect three or four medals, at least one of them gold.
Hungarian swimmers to watch out for at the Tokyo Olympics include several fan favorites, including Kristóf Milák, Katinka Hosszú, Boglárka Kapás and long-distance swimmer Kristóf Rasovszky. They are the athletes who can even bring home medals from Japan. The swimmers were asked about their chances and feelings before their departure.
Although the atmosphere will not be the same as in the previous competitions, as the Olympic Games will be organized without spectators for the first time in history due to the Covid emergency declared again in Japan, Hungary’s No. 1 swimmer, Katinka Hosszú, is happy that the world’s biggest sports event can finally be organized.
She said before her departure in Budapest:
I am very happy that the Olympics are finally taking place and that we can be there. What I would otherwise be really excited about: the atmosphere, the spectators, the celebration will be missing this year. Nevertheless, it is much better that it will take place than if it had not been organized at all.”
The three-time Olympic champion is scheduled to compete in the 200m backstroke, 200m butterfly, and also the 200 and 400m medlies in Tokyo. Katinka Hosszú, the queen in individual medley swimming, is going to this year’s Games without a coach. Her accomplishments from the previous Olympics mean she has a great chance of defending her title.
Besides Hosszú, there are other favorites among the Hungarian swimmers:
21-year-old Kristóf Milák is the biggest favorite in the 200m butterfly in Tokyo, although this will be his first Olympic Games. He is the world record holder in the 200m butterfly and previously said that he expects to set a new world record in Tokyo.
According to some experts, Kristóf Milák is ahead of his competitors, evidenced by the fact that after his recovery from the coronavirus disease, he was able to set a record in the 200 m butterfly, which even in top form his competitors were unable to achieve.
Former Olympic bronze medalist swimmer, Tamás Kenderesi, also has a good chance of winning a medal in the 200m butterfly. It was hard for him to say goodbye to his family before leaving, but he hopes to return from Tokyo with at least one medal.
Boglárka Kapás, former Olympic bronze medalist, will compete individually in Tokyo only in the 200m butterfly. She is really looking forward to her Olympic performance, because she has a high chance to win a medal as 200m butterfly world champion.
Dominik Kozma is traveling to his fourth Olympic Games and even before leaving he was not thinking about possible medals. He emphasized in a Facebook video that he wants to enjoy swimming and get out of the pool with the feeling that he did his best.
After some hesitation, four-time silver and two-time bronze medalist and Olympic swimmer, László Cseh, decided to participate in his fifth and last Olympic Games in Tokyo, after which he will surely retire from competitive swimming. László Cseh will compete in Tokyo for the last time in his career in 200m medley swimming.
32 swimmers will represent Hungary in the pool in Tokyo and two swimmers (Kristóf Rasovszky and Anna Olasz) will compete in open water swimming.
The program of the Hungarian swimmers
As the Hungarian swimmers take part in many competition disciplines, it is worth to follow the detailed program. Preliminaries start every day at 7 pm (local time), finals start at 10:30 am. The detailed program is available HERE.
Written by Borbála Verseghi-Nagy/Ungarn Heute
Featured photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI