Courtesy: Funky Trunks & Funkita, a SwimSwam partner.
Olympian Norbert Szabo is one of the newest members of the Funky Trunks team and with Funky Trunks’ support, he is gearing up for another big season of racing. In 2016, Szabo earned a spot on the Hungarian National Team and competed in the Olympic Games in Rio, racing as a member of the 4 x 200 Freestyle relay team. Funky Trunks sat down with the Youth Olympic Games bronze medalist and two-time European Junior silver medalist to have a chat about his training schedule and all things swimming.
Located: Virginia, USA
Club: Pinnacle Racing VT
Coach: Sergio Lopez-Miro
Currently studying: Hospitality and Tourism Management Major at Virginia Tech, graduating in the spring of 2020.
What are your top 3 career highlights?
- 2014 Youth Olympic Games Bronze Medal
- 2014 European Junior Championships Two Silver Medals
- 2016 Olympic Games, qualified as part of the 4 x 200 Free Relay
How did you get into swimming?
It was a requirement in primary school back in Hungary to encourage kids to learn how to swim. I started in first grade but I was horrible at it. A little bit later I switched to a different primary school where swimming sessions were a requirement as well, but somehow, I became way better at it and I stayed in the sport.
What does a typical week of training look like for you?
Usually, I have double training sessions on Monday-Wednesday-Friday which includes a 2 hour morning practice and an afternoon session which is another 1.5 – 2 hours long. I have weights on Monday and Friday before the afternoon swimming session. On Tuesday-Thursday I only have morning practice which is dry land for 1 hour plus 1.5 hours of swimming. Saturday morning’s practice is usually race pace or some sort of all-out efforts which takes around 2 hours or maybe a little bit longer to complete. I don’t have training on Sunday.
What do you usually do on your one day off?
I usually work on Sundays, because I had to complete 400 hours of working experience related to one of the courses that I fortunately finished earlier this year. I came back in September and the hotel where I finished my field study experience asked me if I would like to stay and keep working part-time. Overall, I am working around 15 hours part-time over the weekends. Other than that I’m either playing on my Xbox console or just relaxing watching Netflix or cooking shows.
What has been the greatest challenge you have faced in your career?
It was really challenging after my junior years of swimming because I stopped improving my times for almost 2 years. Swimming in college however gave me a huge boost on the motivation and discipline side, so I’ve started enjoying swimming again and I am slowly but steadily improving.
Is there any advice that you would give to other athletes who have experienced a plateau in their improvement?
The biggest advice that I could give is to try to surround yourself with people who have the same goals or have the same mindset to get through those tough times. I think it’s necessary to be patient and understand that you cannot improve every single time. Swimming is not a team sport, but if you get through some practices with your friends who are willing to push and motivate you during those bad times it definitely becomes more than just an individual sport. So all in all, hard work works! Just be patient and always have faith in yourself that you’re capable of achieving more in the future.
Do you have any pre-race rituals?
I usually listen to music and visualize my event as part of my pre-race ritual.
What’s your favorite music to listen to before a race?
I don’t have any favorite music to listen to before a race, it just keeps changing from time to time. In general, I really like listening to EDM (electronic dance music) which is pretty broad. Some of my favorite artists that I usually listen to are Martin Garrix, Armin Van Buuren and Tiesto.
What are your interests outside of swimming?
I really like photography, cooking and playing on my Xbox.
Are you a cat person, or a dog person?
100% a dog person, I am not against cats at all but a dog is still the best and most grateful animal on Earth!
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