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Hungary Suited For Success In Rome

Jun 29, 2009

By Zoltán Orlay and Craig Lord

Zoltan Orlay is a journalist in Hungary. For those who read Hungarian, here is his website, where you can catch up with coverage of Hungarian swimming affairs, and if, like me, you don't have a grip on Hungarian, there's some great pictures

The "highlight" of the Hungarian Nationals held in the beautiful town of Eger over the past four days to Sunday was Evelyn Verrasztó's 200m medley. The time was 2:09.87 and yes, she wore a Jaked to set that national record, in keeping with the national records of many swimmers across the world right now. (For Hungary team of 16 swimmers see the foot of this file).

Verrasztó was followed home by Katinka Hosszu, from Baja but based at the moment at USC. Hosszu wore the LZR and clocked 2:10.36. Verrasztó also claimed the national record in the 50 free with a 25.28 ahead of Eszter Dara, on 25.31, while Hosszu stormed ahead in the 200m 'fly for a 2:07.48 victory just half an hour before she took the 400m medley crown in 4:38.01.

The view from Hungary is that the suits made for a somewhat confused picture but the conclusion was the same as elsewhere in the world: if this is what FINA has made us do, then we have a right to be competitive and we will be.

Watch for triple Olympic silver medallist László Cseh, who was also on fire in Eger. On the first day he clocked a national record in the 200 free with the modified X-Glide in 1:47.12 ahead of the old record holder Gergo Kis (1:47.89) and USC's Zoltán Povázsai in 1:48.25. The new X-Glide has stripes on the sides and new permable panel at the groin. At both points the water goes in. The orignal version, which FINA rejected on June 19, is comparable with the Jaked01 and B70, which the international federation has allowed to take the lead in the suits competition by agreeing to allow those suits back in unmodified when it is clear that they offer greater benefits to athletes than other suits.

Half an hour after that 200m free, Cseh and Kis battled over 400m medley, the European record holder and Olympic silver medallist behind "the alien", as Hungarian's dubbed Michael Phelps with tongue in cheek, getting the touch 4:17.25 and 4:18.37.

Cseh also estabilished new national records in the 50 and 100 'fly and the 100 back (23.57, 52.49, 53.88), all in the arena R-Evolution, which, like Paul Biedermann in Berlin, tells us that there may be much more to come from Cseh.

Gergo Kis won the 400 free in national record time, of 3:46.38 (in the modified X-Glide), and also kept Cseh at bay in the 200 'fly with a huge PB of 1:55.81, Cseh, silver-liner in Beijing, on a solid 1:56.93.

On the last day of action, Kis claimed the 200m medley in 1:58.63 ahead of Dávid Verrasztó, on 1:59.89.

Hungary's 4x200 free relay looks stong for world titles in Rome next month: Evelyn Verrasztó (1:58.07 from May), Ágnes Mutina, who won the 200 free in Eger in 1:58.48 ahead of Eszter Dara in 1:59.73 (both in Revolution), while Hosszú clocked 1:59.30 in the 4x200 free relays as starter.

Dávid Szele, in a Jaked01, won the 50 breast in 27.87. Ninth at the olimpics, Krisztián Takács was fastest in the 50 free with 22.20 (Revolution), while struggling with an elbow injury.

Dániel Gyurta and Ákos Molnár had a great battle in the 200 breaststroke. Gyurta won the head-to-head finish by a touch ahead of Molnár (2:11.18 - 2:11.29). Gyurta, who raced 11 individual events in the four days, wore the Revolution, while Molnár swam in an LZR. Note all you big breaststroke improvers out there: Gyurta, on a 2:08 back in Beijing, has still never raced in a 100% wetsuit. Perhaps the time will come in Rome before such nonsense is axed out of the race pool.

Still a junior, Dominik Kozma was the best in the 100 free, with the modified X-Glide in a personal best of 49.55, while in the same suit Eszter Dara was close to the national record of Krisztina Egerszegi in the 100 back with 1:00.51. The legendary Egerszegi, winner of five Olympic gold medals over three Games,  clocked 1:00.31 back in 1991, which was a world record back then. In January 2008, that time was still 8th best ever and the 24th best performance ever, multiple entries per swimmer. Now, it is the 23rd best effort by a single performer and has slipped to 135th on the list of performances (multiple entries per swimmer) that includes 84 sub-minute swims (that figure was 8 from 2 women in January 2008).

A team of 16 swimmers was selected at the end of the championships. 

Hungary Team For Rome:

Men: Krisztián Takács, Zoltán Povázsai, Péter Bernek, Gergo Kis, Dániel Gyurta, Dávid Szele, László Cseh, Norbert Kovács

Women: Eszter Dara, Evelyn Verrasztó, Ágnes Mutina, Zsuzsanna Jakabos, Réka Pecz, Beatrix Bordás, Orsolya Tompa, Katinka Hosszú

The men will race in the 4x200m freestyle, while the women will compete in all three relays.