Daniel Gyurta is a Hungarian swimmer and 200 breaststroke specialist. Born May 4, 1989 Gyurta was born in Budapest, and has been a frontrunner on Hungary’s swimming scene since he was just a teenager. Gyurta made his first Olympic team at just 15 years old, and has competed in the 2004, 2008 and the 2012 Olympics. He’s an Olympic Record Holder in the 200-meter breast in addition to the meet record at the World Championships. He’s represented great sportsmanship in his athletic achievements — Gyurta won the gold medal in the event at the 2012 London Olympics, and gave a replica of his medal to the family of former competitor, Alexander Dale Oen, who died just months before the 2012 Games from a heart attack. In honor of his tribute, he was given the international Fair Play Award from UNESCO.
2004 Athens Olympics
In 2008, at just 15, Gyurta was a strong hope for Hungary’s breaststroke talents. Competing in his primary event, the 200-meter breast, Gyurta qualified for the semi’s with a best time. In the semi-final he swam right next to current World Record Holder, Brendan Hansen, and surprisingly Gyurta qualified first for the championship final. In the final, Gyurta focused on coming home stronger in the second 100 meters, and touched behind Japan’s Kosuke Kitajima and ahead of Hansen becoming the youngest Olympian in history to win a medal since 1932.
2008 Beijing Olympics
Four years older with more experience, Gyurta came into Beijing as a favored competitor in the 200-meter breast. In the preliminaries of the event Gyurta didn’t hold anything back, and ended up breaking the Olympic Record. The next day however, he was out-swam by Kitajima and only finished 5th in the final.
In 2009 Gyurta swam at the World Aquatics Championships in the 200-meter breast. Defending two great Olympic swims, Gyurta competed against Eric Shanteau, who he edged out in the last few meters of the race. He also broke the World Record in the SCM 200-meter breast, and earned Hungary’s Sportsman of the Year for his success.
2011 World Championships
At the 2011 World Championships held in Shanghai, Gyurta used the meet to gear up for London. After facing Kitajima numerous times over the last few years, he was once again up against Kitajmina in Shanghai. With just 50 meters to go in the race, Kitajima was under World Record pace, but Gyurta overtook him in the last 50 meters of the race to win gold, and beat Kitajima for the first time in a major international competition.
2012 London Olympics
Coming off of a strong World Championships Gyurta was prepared for London. At the 2012 Olympics Gyurta took just .03 seconds off of Christian Sprenger’s World Record, which he set in 2009. Kitajima took the race out strong, and similar to Shanghai was under World Record pace. But like we’ve seen Gyurta do recently, his strong back-half helped him overtake Kitajima in the last 100 meters to win gold.
In 2013 and after the Olympics, Gyurta was up for FINA’s Best Athletes Awards and won 1.9% of the vote.
2013 World Championships
After wins at the Olympic and World Championship level it seemed that Gyurta was unstoppable. At the 2013 World Championships Gyurta once again focused on his premier event. He advanced from prelims to semi-finals, and found himself in the championship final. At the halfway point of the 200 breast the heat was steady, with no one standing out too much. Gyurta turned at the 100-meter mark in 7th place, but had a blazing third 50 split to get within just milliseconds away from World Record pace. His last 50 meters were strong enough to win the world title and take the European and Championship Records, but he wasn’t able to clench the World Record.
Dubai World Cup
At the Dubai World Cup in 2014 Gyurta was on a mission to take down records. In the preliminary heats of the SCM 200 breast, Gyurta came back that night, and took down his World Record, which set in the super set era of 2009. In 2014 he was able to hold on stronger the last 100 meters compared to 2009, showing a stronger all-around swimmer. His swim put him as owning the three fastest SCM 200 breaststroke times in history.
2015 World Championships
At the 2015 World Championships in Kazan Gyurta was looking to take his fourth consecutive world title in the 200-meter breast. Although Gyurta has been the winner of the last three LCM World Championships, this time around it was Marco Koch who took the win. Known typically for his strong back-half, Gyurta struggled more than usual on the last 50 meters, which is where he typically dominates the rest of the field. His effort didn’t go unnoticed since Gyurta fought hard to medal, and picked up a bronze medal in Kazan.