Boglarka Kapas is a Hungarian Olympian and distance freestyle specialist. Born April 22, 1993 Kapas stands 5’7″ and competed in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics with goals to swim in Rio 2016. Kapas was the youngest member of the 2008 Hungarian Olympic Team, and most recently won a bronze medal at the 2015 World Championships.
Kapas began swimming in 1999, but made her first competitive team in 2007 for the European Youth Olympic Festival and finished 2nd overall. The following year she finished within the top 16 of both the 400-meter free and the 800-meter free at the 2008 Junior European Championships, and set her up for the Beijing Olympics. In 2009, after competing in her first Olympic Games, she showed some versatility in her range of events.
At the 2009 Junior European Championships she finished 5th in the 200-meter fly and the 400-meter free. She then went to compete at her Hungarian Short Course Nationals Kapas, finishing within the top of the heats in the 800-meter free and 200-meter fly before competing at that year’s Short Course European Championships. She finished 11th in the 200-meter fly, 9th in the 800-meter free and 24th in the 200-meter free.
2008 Beijing Olympics
At just 15 years old Kapas was selected for the Hungarian Olympic Team preparing for the 2008 Olympics. As Hungary’s youngest member of the team, Kapas took on her the 400-meter free for her only event where she finished 29th.
In 2010 Kapas started off the year with the Youth Olympic Games held in Singapore. She walked away with a big win in the 200-meter fly, which ranked her at 10th in the world at that point. She also picked up a silver in the 200-meter free, and another gold in the 400-meter free. Later in the year Kapas swam at the 2010 Short Course World Championships, picking up a silver in the 800-meter free, 4th in the 400-meter free, 10th in the 200-meter fly and 17th in the 200-meter free.
2012 London Olympics
After suffering a rib injury in 2011 and a 1st place finish at the 2012 European Championships Kapas qualified for her second consecutive Olympic Games. She missed out on qualifying for the final of the 400-meter free at 17th, but she advanced to the final of the 800-meter free, and went on to finish 6th overall.
2013 World Championships
A year after her second Olympics Games, Kapas qualified for the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona. She swam one of her nation’s fastest times in the 400 free, and qualified for the championship final where she went on to finish 5th overall. In her longer event, the 800-meter free, Kapas advanced from the preliminary heats to the championship final where she ended up finishing in 4th place. Kapas suffered from an eye injury after the Championships, and missed the rest of the 2013 season.
2014 European Championships
Kapas swam the 400-1500 free once again at the 2014 Euros, scoring medals in the 2 ladder events. As the distance got longer, Kapas got better, scoring a 5th place finish in the 400, bronze in the 800, and silver in the 1500.
2015 World Championships
At the 2015 World Championships in Kazan Kapas truly proved that she just gets better with distance. In the 400-meter free Kapas qualified for the championship final after swimming a fantastic preliminary time. In the final, Kapas couldn’t hold her pace during the last 150 meters, and added two seconds from her preliminary swim to finish 8th overall.
Growing longer in distance Kapas also competed in the 800-meter free, an event largely dominated by the United States’ Katie Ledecky. Qualifying within the top eight swimmers, Kapas advance to the final. She was sitting in the last place for the majority of the race, but used her back-half strength to her advantage. Kapas began making her move around the 600-meter mark, and with 200 meters to go Kapas swam by two others finish 6th overall.
Kapas’ longest event was the 1500 meter free, which ended up being her best. She got herself a Hungarian National Record in the race, touching in a new record of 15:47.09 breaking her previous record by 15 seconds to win a bronze medal. By swimming the preliminary heat nice and easy, Kapas came back in the final to vie for a medal. Similarly to the 800, Kapas’ strategy was to wait patiently, and to continually edge out competitors for the majority race. A medal position came down to the last 50 meters though, as Kapas had to out swim Lotte Friis for bronze.
2016 Rio Olympics
Kapas finished just two tenths of a second behind Jazmin Carlin of Great Britain to won the bronze medal in the women’s 800m Free, both of them were behind Katie Ledecky of the US who won gold while setting a new World Record.
In the 400m free, Kapas finished just out of the medals, touching fourth with a 4:02.37, just 0.45 seconds behind bronze medal winner Leah Smith of the US.
Kapas also helped Hungary to a 6th place finish in the 4x200m Free Relay.
2017 SCM European Championships
Kapas managed to grab the title in the 400 freestyle ahead of Germany’s Sarah Koehler. She got her redemption after finishing behind Koehler a few days earlier in the 800 freestyle with the time of 8:11.13.
2018 European Championships
Kapas swam her normal distance events, placing 10th in the 400 free and 5th in the 800, but she surprised most with an individual title in another event. She touched first in what she described as a “short” event: the 200 fly. A time of 2:07.13 secured the gold for her, and her post race interview went viral because of her unique view on the event.
2019 World Championships
Kapas backed up her European title with a World title to go with it, touching 1st in the 200 fly at the 2019 Worlds in a personal best of 2:06.78, charging the last 50 to pass both Americans in the race for gold.