The Soak: Eva Szekely, Hungarian Olympic Champion, Passes At 92

Eva Szekely - then and more recently. Photo Courtesy: ISHOF

The Soak – Swim News In Brief

Swimming World soaks up snippets from the realm of water sports around the world in a one-stop digest updated each day of every passing week.

If you have a snippet of news for us, let us know:

The Week of February 24-March 1, 2020

Saturday, February 29

Eva Szekely Passes At 92

Eva Szekely, the Hungarian winner of the 200m breaststroke at the 1952 Olympic Games, former wife of Dezso Gyarmati, one of the biggest names in water polo history (the parents of Andrea Gyarmati, the 1972 Olympic medallist and 1970 double European champion) passed away today aged 92.

We will post an obituary when we are able to.

Wednesday, February 26

“It can get really scary and quite hairy out there and I’m someone who sticks religiously between the red and yellow flags.” – Cate Campbell

Cate Campbell has a fear of the ocean. The speediest swimming thalassophobe on the planet says: “I’m not making it up. I’m obviously a good swimmer but I don’t know how to read the ocean or look for rips or watch for waves. It can get really scary and quite hairy out there and I’m someone who sticks religiously between the red and yellow flags.”

Campbell was talking to The Australian Telegraph to promote the Can Too charity’s ocean swim programs aimed at helping hesitant ocean swimmers overcome their fears. The group also raises funds for cancer research. Says the pool sprinter:

“What I really like about Can Too is that they give you the skills to execute the challenge that you’ve signed up for. I’m not in my comfort zone in the ocean so I can really identify with people who need that help to overcome their self doubt to get to the starting line.”

Cate Campbell 5 - Delly Carr Collection

Cate Campbell – Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr from the Delly Carr Collection

Campbell, 27, became involved with Can Too’s Macquarie Uni Pod training group as part of the university’s sports scholar ambassador program, which aims to raise $1 million for cancer research.

Campbell had a brush with cancer herself in 2018 when she was diagnosed with a Stage 1 melanoma on her arm. She recalls:

“I learned I had a melanoma during a routine skin check and it was a real wake up call that cancer happens to anyone. Fortunately, they detected it early and I had the mole removed. The took all the cancer cells but if it had been a millimetre deeper it would’ve been in my blood stream and lymph nodes and it would be a different story.”

Experience and awareness has made her more vigilant since her 2018 scare.

Pool-naming Saga Water off Horton’s Back


Mack Horton – Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr/Swimming Australia Ltd.

Swimming Australia head coach Jacco Verhaeren and senior coach Michael Bohl have suggested that a controversy over the naming of a pool run by folk seemingly nervous of what Chinese clients might think will be water off a duck’s back to Mack Horton.

The 400m free Olympic champion has well-known history with Sun Yang and Australian media reported that as the reason why Caulfield Grammar scrapped plans to name a new pool after him in case it offended Chinese business links.

The Sunday Age reported had opted not to name its newly opened $25 million aquatic centre after Horton to preserve the school’s commercial interests in China, which include a campus in Nanjing and a large Chinese student body in Melbourne.

Cue backlash at home. The school is now thinking that it might, after all, call it the Horton Pool. Whether it does or not, will not matter much to Horton, says. Verhaeren.

“Mack is a very focused athlete,” Verhaeren tells Phil Lutton at The Sydney Morning Herald:

“Nothing worries him. It won’t have any impact on his preparation whatsoever. For him, this shouldn’t be a drama. Of course people have an opinion.”

Senior coach Michael Bohl, weighed in with : “I had the good fortune of looking after Mack coming in and Mack’s mindset is just unbelievable, so I think a thing like this isn’t really isn’t going to affect someone like Mack. Mack is 100 per cent focused on getting a result in Tokyo and there’s going to many other things pop up over the next 20 weeks that will potentially get in the road. But for the kids that are really fixated on getting the best out of themselves, it will be a storm in a tea cup.”

Medals Or Bust, Dolphins Told

“Finish on the podium or perish; that’s the Australian Institute of Sport’s message to some Tokyo Olympic athletes”, according to a report by Jessica Halloran and Jacquelin Magnay in The Australian

Olympic sports are feeling the pressure of funding cuts revealed in an Australian Institute Sport budget paper for 2020-21 showing that many sports will only get 40 per cent of what they were awarded in 2019-20.

Leading Olympic sports, such as swimming, have been guaranteed around 40 per cent of their budget. Swimming is the best-funded Australian sport with a high-performance budget of $10,582,352. Its new baseline is $4,716,176, guaranteed in the first six months of next financial year, while the size of the shortfall will depend on podium prizes in Tokyo. It is unclear what wouyld happen if there is no Tokyo 2020.

“60,000 Australians hospitalised by sport”

Almost 60,000 people were taken to hospital because of a sport in 2016-17, but these Australians say that despite their own serious injuries, the rewards outweigh the risks,  the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reports.

Ten per cent of all sports injuries were life-threatening, with swimming and diving making up 27 per cent of those cases.

Men are more than twice as likely to be hospitalised playing sport than women, according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report found almost 60,000 Australians were taken to hospital after playing a sport in 2016-17, with fractures the most common injury. Over that same time period, just over 60,000 people were hospitalised due to transport crashes.

Keeping Kids In The Swim

North Ayrshire Swimming has set up a “Junior Masters” swim squad to help keep teens who no longer want to dedicate themselves to twice-daily training but want to stay in touch with swimming. The effort is part of moves to help improve the mental and physical health of local teenagers.

The club promotes the Junior Masters on its website as follows: A new squad for swimmers aged 13+ looking to take a step back from intense training or wanting to find a way back into the sport after some time out.

Keeping up physical fitness aand social ties even if a swimmer cannot or does not want to commit to elite squads is important, says the club.

Head coach Jess Wilkie told local media:

“We hear a lot of talk about the ‘sporting pathway’ but the reality is for too many young athletes the pathway ends in a cliff edge. Whether it’s because they are worn down by the demands of intense training, the pressures of balancing sporting commitments against the need to focus on their education or a move into the world of work, too many of our teenagers reach a point where they just stop swimming completely.

“We want to show them that there is another choice. This is something I have been working on for some time. I feel the club is in a great position and we are ready to introduce Junior Masters as a new branch to our ever-growing tree. We now offer something for every kind of swimmer, helping to meet our ultimate target of attracting and retaining as many swimmers as possible.”

Tuesday, February 25

Tom’s Channel Watch Is Done: Coach Passes Away At 92

Tom Watch, a veteran swimming coach from Weymouth in England who trained generations of cross-Channel swimmers, has passed away aged 92. During the course of a career spanning at least six decades, Tom Watch watched over numerous athletes who  braved the 21 miles swim across the English Channel. Born in 1928 as the third child in a family of twelve, Tom spent his formative years in Weymouth, the Dorset Echo reports. In 1987, Tom received a congratulations letter from Senator Edward Kennedy after helping a Boston man complete a crossing. In the letter, Kennedy refer to Tom Watch as an “Ambassador of friendship.”

Monday, February 24

Los Angeles 2028’s Big Bus Bus Eco-Friendley Order

Los Angeles has ordered 155 electric busses for the 2028 Olympic Games. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) order is the biggest of its kind in the U.S. as the city looks to become more eco-friendly in time for when it hosts the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti plan is to make the city’s entire bus fleet zero emission by the time the Games and Paralympic Games come round in 2028.




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