Swimming World Presents “Lessons with Legends: Tamas Szechy”

Tamas Szechy - Lessons with Legends

Lessons with Legends: Tamas Szechy

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When athletes descended upon Budapest for the 2017 FINA World Championships, one of the pools in use was the Tamas Szechy Swimming Complex, part and parcel of the Alfréd Hajós National Swimming Stadium main arena.

Considered by many to be the grandfather of Hungarian swimming, Szechy (1931-2004) was an old-school coach, initially partial to mega yardage, but also a physiologist with a fine scientific mind.

Initially trained in track and field, he worked with athletes in power events before developing the popular three macro-cycle training program still widely used today. Operating out of the Central Sports Club in Budapest, he achieved aquatic excellence by leading his charges through equal months of cross training, quickness and endurance, and competition preparation.

And excel they did.

Known in his home country as the “Swimming Pope,” he coached eight swimmers—Andras Hargitay, Sandor Wladar, Zoltan Verraszto, Alban Vermes, Jozsef Szabo, Tamas Darnyi, Norbert Rozsa and Attila Czene—to 15 Olympic medals from 1972 to 1996 (eight gold, four silver and three bronze).

At eight World Championships between 1973 and 1998, his swimmers won 21 medals (12 gold, three silver, six bronze) while notching 30 European Championship medals (16 gold, eight silver, six bronze). In all, he had five Olympic gold medalists, five world champions and four world record holders. Of the latter group, Darnyi (three/200 IM, three/400 IM) and Rozsa (three/100 breast) held nine world records. Hargitay and Verraszto also each set a world record in the 400 IM.

“Szechy was the first foreign coach to come to the U.S. for training purposes,” says fellow Hungarian Jon Urbanchek. California and Arizona were constant destinations in his global quest for warmer training climes. “It was very unusual back then for a communist country to come to America,” says Urbanchek. But come they did, often performing exceedingly well as evidenced by a 1-2-3 Hungarian sweep of the 400 IM at the National AAU Indoor Swimming Championships in April 1976.

 

To read more about Tamas Szechy and the legends he inspired as a coach,
check out the April 2019 issue of Swimming World Magazine, available now!

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FEATURES

016 2018 TOP 12 WORLD MASTERS SWIMMERS OF THE YEAR
by Dan D’Addona, David Rieder and Taylor Brien

022 A CUT ABOVE THE REST
by Michael Randazzo
Despite Jovan Vavic’s stunning eviction from Troy, USC and Stanford remain the teams to beat at this year’s NCAA Women’s Water Polo Championships in May. The Trojans beat the Cardinal 5-4 last year at their home pool, but Stanford will play host to the NCAA’s top teams in 2019. In the past nine years, Stanford has captured five national titles, with USC winning four—including two of the last three.

026 OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS
by Michael Randazzo
Paola Dominguez-Castro, a high school junior living in Hialeah, Fla.—and considered one of the most impressive young water polo talents in the country—has the opportunity to break free of the environment that has both sustained and developed that talent, and become an example for others who might aspire to greater success.

030 THE GREATEST SWIM IN HISTORY
by Bruce Wigo
At the 1965 AAU Short Course Nationals, a capacity crowd of 3,000 thought they had just seen “the greatest swim in history.” They cheered wildly for FIVE MINUTES after Steve Clark had broken the 46-second barrier in the 100 yard freestyle with a 45.6. After watching Caeleb Dressel’s three barrier-breaking swims at last year’s NCAAs—and believing that Dressel can swim even faster—Clark, now 75, believes “the greatest swim in history has yet to happen.”

034 NUTRITION: AROUND THE TABLE WITH MICHIGAN LAKESHORE AQUATICS
by Dan D’Addona and Dawn Weatherwax

COACHING

010 LESSONS WITH THE LEGENDS: TAMAS SZECHY
by Michael J. Stott

014 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: CONDITIONING TO OPTIMIZE TECHNIQUE (Part 1)
by Rod Havriluk

038 WHAT COACHES CAN LEARN FROM SWIMMERS (Part 2)
by Michael J. Stott
This is the second of a two-part series in which Swimming World shares epiphanies from coaches whose athletes fundamentally altered their coaching philosophy. Last month’s article dealt with the individuality of swimmers. This month, coaches discuss the importance of feedback.

040 SPECIAL SETS: IM TRANSITION SETS
by Michael J. Stott
Ken Heis, head coach of the Mason (Ohio) Manta Rays, has a studied approach to IM training, honed by experimentation and experience. Here the four-time Ohio Swimming Coach of the Year shares some sample IM transition sets.

043 Q&A WITH COACH ADAM EPSTEIN
by Michael J. Stott

044 HOW THEY TRAIN :LUKAS MACEK
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

013 DRYSIDE TRAINING: EXERCISE EQUIPMENT SERIES—TRX SUSPENSION STRAPS
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

036 GOLDMINDS: LESSONS ABOUT LOSING
by Wayne Goldsmith

046 UP & COMERS: NATALIE MANNION
by Taylor Brien

COLUMNS

008 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

009 BEYOND THE YARDS

025 MOMS AT MEETS

029 DID YOU KNOW? ISHOF/MASTERS HALL OF FAMERS

047 GUTTER TALK

048 PARTING SHOT