World champ and world record holder Katinka Hosszu called a press conference Tuesday to criticize the swimming federation in her home country of Hungary for failing to provide enough resources to its swimmers.
In the press conference (translated from Hungarian to English), Hosszu said that “while the Hungarian Swimming Federation expects world class performances, the support they provide is far from world class level.”
Hosszu suggested the frustration with her federation has been festering for some time. Hosszu says she has been “trying to solve this problem in house” for the past three years, but claimed her solutions have fallen on deaf ears.
The crux of the disagreement seems to fall on the allocation of resources to athletes to implement their training programs. Hosszu says she and coach Shane Tusup discussed ways to improve her training program leading up to the Rio Olympics, and approached the federation for support to help implement them.
“[W]e not only found technical and training aspects to improve but we also found a number of other aspects which would make the program complete and well rounded,” Hosszu said in her press conference, though she didn’t name the specific improvements she and Tusup had in mind. “After multiple sit downs, explanations and official requests I was unfortunately denied these resources.”
Hosszu notes that the federation had not given her what she termed as “additional resources” in previous years either – she says she was “tagged as bringing no results” after a 6th place finish at the 2011 World Championships and then again after a 4th place finish at the 2012 Olympics. Hosszu brought home two golds and a bronze medal from the 2015 World Championships, and said she expected that to the the results the federation needed in order to justify allotting her more support for her program.
Hosszu also claimed her criticisms were not about money, but about the betterment of Hungarian swimming in general. Hosszu has won the FINA World Cup series for the past five years, taking in $325,000 this year alone.
“This is not about money,” she said in the press conference. “I can afford to pay for all the resources I would need to make these improvement to my program. In fact, I would have no problem continuing to reinvest my prize money into my own continued success. However if I were to pay for all my additional resources, which hopefully make it easier for me to achieve our mutual goals, then what is purpose of the federation? What are they doing if not providing for their swimmers? If it is up to us to research, analyze, train and then compete, what role does that leave for the federation in this partnership? Not to mention that I know from experience that we are competing against athletes who are strongly supported in more ways than in Hungary we can imagine.”
Hosszu also made clear she didn’t intend her press conference to be an attack on the federation but rather a catalyst “to initiate change for the better.”