Interview with Olympic champion Katinka Hosszú
At the end of the 200-meter-long medley swimming, Katinka Hosszú was the first one who hit the finish line and the Danube Arena just exploded. During the World Cup in Hungary, she scored four gold and three bronze medals. The fact that she performed so well after the recess of half a year surprised even her. We were talking about the new coach and the work with the Iron Lady.
GLOBS Magazine interview:
GLOBS: First of all, we would like to congratulate to you for the new medals that your collection has been expanded with. We are very proud of you! How do you feel that you have scored your 400th medal in the World Cup series?
Katinka Hosszú: Of course it’s great, who would not like it. However, I do not count my medals myself, I leave this to the press. Nevertheless, when I learned that this will be a special milestone, I wanted this important medal to be a gold one. I did my best!
GLOBS: The crowd was furious, the house was full and there were 5000 fans on the grand-stand. Could the atmosphere have been any better? People usually ask this rhetorical question. At the same time, one must realize that there is a great deal of pressure on you when swimming in front of the Hungarian audience. Do you feel this duality in yourself? Otherwise, are you only motivated by the Hungarian audience?
The Hungarian audience is very special. This was also recognized by foreign swimmers during the last year’s World Cup and now as well.
There is no such cheer and loudness anywhere else in the world! Competing in Hungary is always a big burden, especially to me. Everyone takes it for granted that Katinka always wins. Of course, during previous domestic competitions I have learned that I must only concentrate on swimming and on my own performance. Today, I can ignore the world around me very well. I have to admit that lately I have repeatedly wondered what is the point in what I do. I could spend my time with more meaningful things than watching the line in the pool eight hours a day. However, a competition like this is a serious reason to continue, because I receive a lot of love and feedbacks. Many people have said that I am their idol, that I give them strength and motivation for sport and everyday life. I am happy that I can give something to the people.
GLOBS: With so many gold medals from World Cups, Olympics and European Championships behind you, technically every competition is somewhat “risky”. For instance, you have scored six medals at a particular event. In case you scored only five this time, people would not understand what was happening. How can you handle the expectations of others? Do you compare your results with your best performance?
Katinka: There is no need to deal with the expectations of others. I have to meet my own expectations. I always set goals and work to achieve them. These goals are not realized in medals or scores. The most important thing is that I can always show the best performance. I want to feel that I could not have done any better when I hit the finish line. I want to feel that I did my best on that day. I do not want to compare myself to myself either. Obviously,
I know the quality of work I have done and what can be achieved with that amount of work.
Otherwise, it is clear from the time results achieved during the last World Cup that we are moving to a very good direction.
GLOBS: There was a time at the beginning of the year when you did not swim. Professionals say that avoiding is the corruption of swimming. How did this time affect you physically or mentally?
Katinka: I was surprised how quickly I could go back on track and how well and quickly my body reacted. It was obviously an unplanned rest. However, I believe that I learned a lot from this as well, as I did before. For example, if I find the right balance in life, then I can work and compete more intensively in sports.
GLOBS: Have you ever thought about quitting swimming?
Katinka: I would be lying if I said no, even only for a brief moment. In reality, it is not because I was tired or sick of it. I was rather wondering about how many things would be left to do in life if I had the time for them. At the same time water, swimming, competing and sports mean the essence of life for me. This is a medium without which I can not imagine my life for the time being. I realized how much I can give to people with this, as I did during the World Cup. Kids often approach me in the Iron Swim which is my swimming club. I see how joyful they are when they ask me about my experiences and when they tell me about how much strength they can absorb from our little conversations to write better tests at schools or perform better at trainings. This is a positive feedback for me.
GLOBS: You have prepared for the European Championship in Glasgow with a new trainer, Árpád Petrov. This was the first time you two have worked together. What was your conclusion regarding your professional relationship after the competition?
Katinka: Although he was with me at the venue, I have prepared for the European Championship in Glasgow on the basis of my former training plan. We begun our joint work after that. The results of the last two months show that we are moving forward and are heading in the right direction. Our attitude towards work is similar and we can honestly discuss the issues between us. I believe we speak the same language.
GLOBS: What is your focus in your training?
Defining goals is the most important thing. At this point, I am not only talking about long-term, but short term goals that provide the basis for the way ahead, even on daily basis. I can only work if I know what and why I’m doing. Fortunately, I am in agreement with Árpi on that. Being an absolute competitor, I can compete with anyone. In addition, the experience of the past shows that the method “training by competing” works for me. So we do not change that approach. It is also important that we pay close attention to feedbacks. If we try out a new thing, we see if it works or not, and we will utilize the experiences. I prefer this experimental and innovative approach. I think this is the only way to perform better.
GLOBS: As we all know, you do not rest even after a forced march. What is your next goal?
Katinka: As for the near future, the World Cup will continue in November. The three competitions of the last session phase in 2018 will be in Asia. In December, China will host the short-run World Cup. Therefore, there are plenty of goals and work to do, but this is how I like it.
Source: by Gabriella GYÖRGY, Journalist/Globs Magazine