While racing at this week’s Italian Championships, Italian IMer Ilaria Cusinato spoke with SwimSwam’s Giusy Cisale about her season and her departure from her short-lived collaboration with coach Shane Tusup.
Interview courtesy: Giusy Cisale
“For me, it wasn’t an end of something, but I would say a new beginning, because I found a new ‘me’ and a new way of living my life,” Cusinato said. “Not only my swimming life, but also my personal life. I found an amazing person who is now living with me and I’m so proud of the work we have achieved together, and what we have worked on. So now I’m living a good life. I’m very happy for what I’m doing now.”
The ‘amazing person’ that she’s referring to is Dàvid Foldhàzi, a Hungarian swimmer, who was briefly a part of Tusup’s training group in Italy, along with Cusinato. While the exact timeline of events is still murky, according to Tusup the 24-year old Foldhàzi “broke team rules” and was asked to leave the group, while Tusup said that he would welcome Cusinato back.
Cusinato did not go back, however, and is instead now training in Padova with coach Moreno Daga. Daga is not a huge name in international coaching, but he counts among his trainees Matteo Furlan: the 2013 World University Games champion in the 10km open water swim and the 2018 European bronze medalist in the 25km open water swim.
“So now I’ve started a new preparation with my new coach Moreno Daga in Padova. I’m very happy to be working with him because I’m very connected with him, because he’s not only a good coach, he’s like a father to me. He’s very protective, I’m learning a lot from him because he’s teaching me how to live a proper life not only in my swimming career but outside and how to live my days with more tranquility and in a peaceful way. He’s teaching me a lot and I’m very, very happy with my choice and I really hope that this year will be a very good year for me.”
Tusup is most famous as the former coach and husband of Olympic Champion and World Record holder Katinka Hosszu. The two had a romantic and professional split in early 2018, and Tusup spent a year away from the sport attempting to build a career as a professional golf long-driver.
But in August, Tusup and Cusinato announced a new project where Tusup would train the then-19-year old, now 20-year old, Cusinato toward Tokyo. Ultimately that project added a few more swimmers, but Cusinato’s involvement lasted only a few months. The training was documented via a YouTube series called “Olympic Dark Horse,” which has only seen one new episode since the split with Cusinato: a video introducing Tusup’s girlfriend, Courtney, to the channel.
The partnership drew special interest because Cusinato specializes in the IM races: the same events that Tusup’s former wife and trainee Katinka Hosszu specializes in.
Cusinato won silver in the 200 IM and 400 IM in long course at the 2018 European Championships and most recently took a bronze medal in the 400 IM at the European Short Course Swimming Championships.
Cusinato also won the 400 IM (4:41.04 in long course) in her only swim at the Italian Championships this week – 5 seconds away from the Italian prequalification standard for the Tokyo Olympics.