Katinka Hosszu Continues Gruelling Schedule In Glasgow With Eyes On The Prize At Tokyo 2020: O’Connor Happy To Be Back At Tollcross

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Katinka Hosszu celebrates her 400 IM win at World Championships. Photo courtesy: Becca Wyant

Katinka Hosszu makes another stop on the journey that she believes will best prepare her for Tokyo 2020 at the European Short-Course Swimming Championships starting in Glasgow on Wednesday.

It is another leg on a schedule that has seen her traverse the globe – taking in the International Swimming League and World Cup competitions – and one which will see the Hungarian undertake her customary multi-event programme.

The 30-year-old will seek to make a clean sweep of the individual medley events from 100 to 400m for the third consecutive championships as well as the 100m and 200m butterfly.

There is though no place for backstroke this time around, despite a clean sweep from 50 to 200m in Copenhagen two years ago.

Hosszu admitted at the London leg of the ISL that it was not her “favourite” stroke, one which has seen Regan Smith, of the United States, shatter the 100m and 200m long-course world records this year.

Her own 100m short-course mark was taken down by Minna Atherton at the Budapest leg of the ISL before the Australian came within 0.02secs of her 200m record.

All being well, Hosszu will have 12 individual races at Tollcross International Swimming Centre, where she became the first woman to win the same event – the 200IM – at five consecutive editions of the European (50m) Championships in 2018.

A gruelling regime, yes, but one she knows works for her. There were six gold medals in Netanya, Israel, in 2015 en-route to four trips to the Olympic podium in Rio de Janeiro, three of them to the top step, eight months later.

For Katinka Hosszu there is no substitute for quality racing.

She told Swimming World: “I know it because I’ve done it and it really helps. It can be mentally a bit draining and a bit tough on the body but at the end of the day you are going to get better. It is much harder but much better for you than just training at home and preparing for the Olympics.”

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Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Katinka Hosszu will not be at the ISL’s inaugural grand finale in Las Vegas with her Team Iron not making it through, Energy Standard and London Roar instead flying the flag for Europe just prior to Christmas

The ISL had presented a conflict for the nine-time world champion who desperately wanted to help guide her team to Vegas but remained focused on the biggest picture of all next July in Japan.

“It has been a bit tough for me because normally I look at competitions as just training. For me personally – I know I am in a lot, I go to World Cups, I win and that is probably what you see from the outside.

“But that is not my main focus. In the season my main focus is not to swim fast: competitions I always try, I can do pretty well.

“I had to make the decision and I am focusing on my preparation because at the end of the day we do have the Olympics in Tokyo in a few months. That is what I have been training for.”

Hosszu enters four of her events as the top-ranked woman and will meet double European IM silver medallist Ilaria Cusinato of Italy in the medleys as well as Siobhan O’Connor, the Briton who was second behind her in the 200IM in Rio.

Tollcross is a special place for O’Connor, who won six medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games there, crediting it as the place she made her breakthrough and as the springboard for world bronze in Kazan, Russia, a year later before Rio silver.

She said: “It’s great to be back here in Glasgow with another opportunity to race in front of a home crowd and I think the team is really looking forward to this competition. Obviously it’s an important year ahead and it’s great to be here at such a great pool where lots of us have really fond memories.

“I think my personal favourite memory of Glasgow is the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which is probably one of my favourite weeks I’ve had in swimming, with my family able to come and watch, a home crowd, and I just think Glasgow did such a fantastic job of hosting.”

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