Katinka Hosszu is a Hungarian Olympian and one of the most versatile swimmers in the world. Born May 3, 1989 Hosszu was born in Pécs, and refers to herself as the “Iron Lady”.
In November 2016, Hosszu broke the final short course national record that didn’t have her name written next to it, the 1,500 meter freestyle. With that record, she holds 18 out of 18 Hungarian short course records and 9 of the 17 long course records. The four-time Olympian is sponsored by Arena as well as Audi.
College University of Southern California
After graduating high school from III Bela Gymnazium, she competed collegiately in the U.S. for the University of Southern California. Hosszu gradauted from USC in 2012, where she studied psychology. Hosszu was a force at both the conference and NCAA Championships, winning titles in both arenas. She swam in multiple events over her collegiate years, switching her championship events between the 500 freestyle, 400 IM, 200 butterfly, 200 IM and the 200 freestyle. She left the university obtaining numerous school records in events including the 200 freestyle, 200 IM, 400 IM, and 200 butterfly.
Honda Sports Award and ESPN’s ESPY
Even though Hosszu was an immediate impact for the Trojan squad, she really broke out her junior year, when she was a three-time European Champion and won all three individual events at the NCAA Championships. That year she won the Honda Sports Award and was nominated for ESPN’s ESPY Awards for Best Female College Athlete.
2004 Olympics and beyond
Hosszu made her first Olympic team in 2004, finishing 31st in the 200m freestyle. At the 2004 European Short Course Championships was the bronze medalist in the 400m IM and finished sixth in the 200m IM.
Early performances at the European Championships
The following year she was fifth in the 400 IM and eighth in the 200m IM at the European Championships. In 2006 at the Long Course European Championships she was ninth in the 200m IM and fourth in the 400m IM at the Short Course Championships.
FINA World Championships
In 2007 Hosszu qualified for the FINA World Championships, coming in 11th in the 400m IM and 12th in the 200m IM. In 2008 she had a successful European Championships – she picked up one of her first international medals finishing second in the 400m IM.
After being a member of eight Hungarian national teams, Hosszu swam in her second Olympic Games, which were held in Beijing. She finished 12th in the 400m IM and 17th in the 200m IM.
Hungarian Female Athlete of the Year
Hosszu was named the Hungarian Female Athlete of the Year in 2009. She was selected for the award after winning a World Championship title in the 400m IM and bringing home two bronze medals in the 200m IM and 200m butterfly as well as her two NCAA medals won that year.
Third Olympic Games
In 2012 Hosszu qualified for her third Olympic Games, this time finishing 4th in the 400m IM, 8th in the 200m IM and 9th in the 200m butterfly together with her coach and husband, Shane Tusup. Her 4th-place finish was one of the lowest points in her career, but she used 2013 as a redemption. That same year she was a three-time European Champion in her signature three events.
Coming off a disappointing London Olympics Hosszu came charging into 2013. She was once again named the Hungarian Female Athlete of the Year, was a two-time World Champion, broke six short course World Records, and repeated as the overall World Cup winner.
Female European Swimmer of the Year
2014 was a long season for Hosszu, competing all across the world at different competitions. She was named the Female European Swimmer of the Year after setting 17 Hungarian records that year alone.
2015 – Arena launches Katinka Hosszu’s Iron Lady Brand
Katinka Hosszu and Arena created a first class mini-collection of swim essentials that reflects this superlative athlete’s spirit and ethos: bold, fun, stylish and highly technical, the three-piece capsule collection is composed of a training swimsuit, a swim cap and a t-shirt in a distinctive, stand-out black, red and white palette.
The swimsuit features ‘Iron Lady’ graphic lettering all over in sparkling silver against a black background and is constructed in Arena’s ultra-durable and comfortable Max Life, a revolutionary swim fabric that ensures a perfect fit and unsurpassed performance. It is also exceptionally chlorine resistant which makes it the ideal suit for dedicated athletes who spend hours in the pool. The Light Drop back combines a sporty look with an enviable fit and a feminine, sophisticated feel as well as ensuring maximum control and freedom of movement.
2015 World Championships
Still on a mission to redeem herself after the London Olympics Hosszu travelled to Kazan to compete at the 2015 World Championships. She broke her first World Record of the meet in the 200-meter IM, touching in 2:06.12, breaking a time set by the USA’s Ariana Kukors back in the super suit era. After scratching the 100-meter back final to focus on the 200 IM Hosszu attacked the race from the beginning, finishing her first 50 meters under World Record pace. She repeated as the 200-meter IM World Champion, and won her fourth World Championships medal.
In the longer IM event Hosszu was largely regarded as the favorite to win. After leading the entire race, Hosszu touched the wall in first, and beat her 2009 World Championships Meet Record and shaved more than two second off of her preliminary time. Hosszu paced the 400-meter IM well and was under World Record pace until the final 100 meters of the race.
Hosszu also won bronze in the 200-meter backstroke where she used her strong back-half to nearly chase down USA’s Missy Franklin who finished 2nd in the event. She also took on the 200-meter free, an event that was stacked with talent including USA’s distance phenom, Katie Ledecky. After taking the first 100 meters out with one of the fastest times in the final, Hosszu fell to 6th overall at the finish. The finish was so tight, however that only one and a half seconds separated the winner through 8th place.
2016 Rio Olympics
The Iron Lady dominated the heats of the 400M Individual Medley just missing the World Record. She is seated first going into the Finals four seconds ahead of second place finisher, Mirela Belmonte of Spain.
Hosszu lead the 400M Individual Medley Finals from start to finish shattering the World Record by two seconds to win Gold. Her 4:26.36 was also almost five seconds ahead Silver Medalist Maya DiRado of the US.
Hosszu made it 2 for 2 by winning gold in the 100M Backstroke. Her 58.45 was three tenths ahead of silver medalist, Kathleen Baker of the USA.
Three for three! Hosszu won the 200M Individual Medley setting a new Olympic Record with a time of 2:06.58, three tenths of a second ahead of second place finisher, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor of Great Britain.
Hosszu picked up her fourth medal of the games, her first silver, finishing second to Maya DiRado of the US by just six one hundredths of a second with a time of 2:06.05.
FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) 2016
In the 200M Free, Hosszu finished one half second behind Gold medalist, Federica Pellegrini to win the silver medal. Hosszu followed the 200 Free by winning the 400M Individual Medley, the same day, with a time of 4:21.67, easily out pacing the rest of the field by over six seconds.
Katinka Hosszu Calls for Worldwide Pro Swimming Union – June 21st, 2017
In an open letter provided to SwimSwam, Hosszu says that “swimming is still not a professional sport,” and blames FINA, the world governing body for the sport, for that failure. “It’s not an exaggeration to say that FINA is in chaos,” Hosszu pens. “There is the lack of transparency in the financials, the constantly changing rules, and leaders with no vision. At first it may seem a bit scary, but this is the time for us, the swimmers, to do something about the future of our sport. We wouldn’t need to be pioneers; there are so many inspiring examples from other sports before us.”
Hosszu attacks what she views as FINA talking out of both sides of its mouth – on one hand, boasting of impossibly high viewership numbers approaching 7 billion, and on the other saying that there’s not more money to be shared with the athletes.