For it’s relatively small population, Hungary has put together a very strong swimming presence for years now, mostly on the backs of a few dominant superstars like Katinka Hosszu, Laszlo Cseh and Daniel Gyurta. The problem with that type of setup is replacing stars with equally dominant younger swimmers when they age. For Hungary, though, things are looking bright for the next generation, at least based on the Youth Olympic Games, where the country has won four medals over the first three days.
Perhaps the biggest of those medals came from 17-year-old Liliana Szilagyi in the 200 fly. And Szilagyi didn’t just win – she was dominant, crushing the field by nearly two full seconds in 2:06.59.
While the Youth Olympics are rife with Junior World Records, Szilagyi’s swim pushed even beyond junior dominance, ranking all the way up to 3rd in the world for 2014 for swimmers of all ages. That places her behind two big swimming names: Japan’s Natsumi Hoshi and Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia. That even ranks her ahead of Hungary’s biggest star, Katinka Hosszu, for the season.
Szilagyi would have smashed the Junior World Record in the event, but she’s just too old to qualify. FINA calculates athletes age by year of birth. Since Szilagyi will turn 18 this coming November, she’s considered 18 for the year under FINA policy concerning Junior World Records.
It’s a tough break, but based on how dominant Szilagyi has been thus far, there’s a good chance a Junior World Record turns out to be a minor accomplishment compared to what she’s ultimately capable of.
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