As announced by the former President of the Hungarian Swimming Federation, Sándor Széles has passed away this week at the age of 61. Battling health problems for a number of years, the longtime elite coach Széles had reportedly been in a come since March and never awoke.
Széles has been involved in Hungarian coaching since the 1970s and guided two freestylers to the American-boycotted 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. Sandor Nagy and Zoltan Wladar both finaled in their respective events of 1500 freestyle and 400 freestyle at that competition, shining a light on Széles as a bonafied coach.
Later in his career he began working with Ákos Molnár, Dávid Verrasztó and Evelyn Verrasztó, with Daniel Gyurta also joining his squad in 1999. Gyurta’s career took off quickly, having earned a silver medal in the 200m breaststroke at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens at just 15 years of age. Gyurta followed that up with a gold and then-200m breaststroke world record at the 2012 Games in London, but failed to move onto the semi-finals in Rio last summer. Post-Rio, Gyurta and Széles, parted ways.
Upon news of his death. both Gyurta and Hungary’s most successful female swimmer, Katinka Hosszu, offered condolences via social media. For Gyurta, his Facebook page calls Széles a ‘master’, while Hosszu writes, “He was unquestionably one of the corner stones of Hungarian swimming!”
I just heard the sad news, rest in peace Sándor Széles! He was unquestionably one of the corner stones of Hungarian swimming! pic.twitter.com/m0NMNGqqC6
— Iron Lady (@HosszuKatinka) May 23, 2017