Coach of Hungarian Olympic Stars Passes Quietly at 73

BUDAPEST, Hungary, September 14. TAMAS Szechy was one of the most productive coaches of his generation on the Olympic level. From the tiny country of Hungary he coached swimmers, primarily men, who won 15 Olympic medals. AP reported yesterday that Szechy died Monday at age 73.

Jozsef Ruza, secretary general of the Hungarian Swimming Association, said he died in his sleep, even still wearing his glasses. Cause of death was apparently not yet known.

Szechy was especially adept at preparing all-around swimmers capable of Individual Medley dominance. Between 1972 and 1996 Szechy coached athletes included Munich 400 IM bronze medalist Andras Hargitay, two time Olympic double IM winner Tamas Darnyi and Atlanta 200 IM champion Attila Czene, a 200 IM gold medalist and finalist in 3 consecutive Games. All three of these gentlemen were also IM world record holders at some point.

From the Munich Olympics to the 1998 World Championships in Australia, swimmers trained by Szechy won 36 Olympic or World Championship medals, including 20 golds. Olympic medals alone included eight golds, four silvers and three bronzes.

He also coached breaststroke specialist Norbert Rozsa to world records and Olympic gold.

Hungarian Sports Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany praised Szechy for demonstrating that talent overcomes difficult circumstances if coupled with persistent work and faith.

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