Katinka Hosszu: ISL Support Will Enable All Swimmers To Continue Into 2021

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Katinka Hosszu: Photo Courtesy: Patrick B. Kraemer

Triple Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu believes the lifeline thrown by the International Swimming League will be of great benefit to lesser-known swimmers whose financial status would otherwise be precarious going into 2021.

The ISL on Friday announced an $11million package for the 320 swimmers on the 10 teams who were due to contest season two this year.

Of that, each swimmer will be guaranteed $1500 per month from September 2020 to July 2021 when the rescheduled Olympic Games will take place.

As well as financial support, a five-week training and competition camp will be held in October/November for all swimmers and coaches who were involved with the ISL who will also cover all expenses.

Hosszu has a high profile in the sport and is the owner of Team Iron and she recognises the importance of this support package to others who have less commercial power.

In an exclusive interview with Swimming World, Hosszu said:

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“I think this programme is a great initiative and is exactly why I am so happy to be a part of helping these swimmers who might not have funding for next year because it is definitely going to be tough for some to have another year of preparation for next summer.

“The ISL season also has to adapt for the situation we are in right now worldwide and I am really happy with the initiative of the solidarity programme.”

She echoed the sentiments of Georgia Davies – world, European and Commonwealth medallist and Energy Standard member – who told Swimming World on Friday that the support would enable swimmers to be able to concentrate on their training.

Hosszu said:

“Exactly. That’s basically one of the big points of this programme is that these swimmers can focus on their preparations, take a part in the ISL training camp/competition season of 2020 and prepare without too much stress.”

Hosszu, who is based in Budapest, Hungary, has access to a pool, albeit restricted, and has adapted her training accordingly to include dryland training and running.

However, she is one of the fortunate ones with few swimmers getting any time at training facilities which has just underlined to them their love of the water.

The five-week training and competition camp, therefore, is something for the swimmers to look forward to given there appears to be little in the coming months amid the uncertainty of the coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic.

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Katinka Hosszu: Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Hosszu said:

“It will be a different perspective for the swimmers as well. I already talked to a lot of the international swimmers and everyone is saying ‘we just realised now or at least we are realising much more that we love swimming and that is why we swim’.

“And now that most of us cannot train in a pool that is something we are really missing so when it comes to fall and we can spend time together – 10 teams in the same place for four weeks – I think it is kind of going to be like a celebration of the sport.”

She added:

“It is really great that the ISL is able to adapt to this situation really quickly and it is very flexible and a competition swimmers can look forward to. It is going to be great fun: we all hope and we all assume that things will be much better from August, September and ISL can have this four/five weeks in the fall. And then I think it will be really fun to have all the swimmers in one place for a month or so.”

Not only are swimmers missing the water, plans and preparations for Tokyo 2020 have now been shredded with the Games now rescheduled for July 2021.

It is a time of adjustment for everyone, says Hosszu:

“I think it is pretty crazy with swimming because if you are not in the water all the time and not having the access…I think it is going to be pretty strange. For myself, I don’t take off more than a couple of days out of the pool.

“I think it really helps for the swimmers to know the Olympics is more than a year away. There is a lot of time to prepare. There are no competitions – at least as far as we see now.

“Even for us they talk ab out maybe having Europeans at the end of August but obviously we will have to see. But there is a lot of time now: I think if the swimmers keep fit everyone should be okay.”

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Boglarka Kapas: Photo Courtesy: LEN

Nine of Hosszu’s Hungary team-mates including world 200 fly champion Boglarka Kapas tested positive for coronavirus with the news emerging on Monday.

While the nine had been on training camps in Turkey and Thailand, Hosszu had been with Energy Standard in Naples and tests on her return were negative.

However, the fact so many of her national team-mates were positive was shocking and a far too close for comfort.

“It was really surprising for a lot of swimmers as well because they don’t have any symptoms but they carry the virus so this is something we all have to watch out for.”

 

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