Only 1 Rio Finalist Will Advance to Women’s 200 Back Semis; Hosszu 20th

2020 TOKYO SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES

The defending Olympic silver medalist in the women’s 200 meter backstroke Katinka Hosszu has stalled out in the preliminary rounds of the event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

This means that only 1 of the finalists from the last Olympic Games, China’s Liu Yaxin, will advance to the semi-finals of this year’s Games. In fact, only two Rio semifinalists, including Emily Seebohm of Australia, will move on from the prelims.

The 32-year old Hungarian, nicknamed the “Iron Lady” for her incredible feats in the pool, finished 20th out of 27 participants in the race with a time of 2:12.84 in what was her last shot at an Olympic medal this week. She was one of several known veterans to have missed the final in this race, including Daryna Zevina, Daria K Ustinova (4th in Rio), Ali Galyer, and Simona Kubova, as they ceded the right-of-way to a younger generation of backstrokers.

Among the swimmers who did advance: another Hungarian, Katalin Burian, who qualified 8th in 2:09.10.

Hosszu throughout most of her early career was an IMer and butterflier, primarily. In the run-up to the 2015 World Championships, however, she began to really shift her focus to the backstroke races, which saw her win the bronze at the 2015 World Championships and silver a year later at the 2016 Olympics in the 200 back, as well as the 2016 gold medal in the 100 backstroke.

Post-Rio, Hosszu would eventually split from her coach, and husband, Shane Tusup. A year on from that, she was still able to capture gold in the 200 IM and 400 IM at the 2019 World Championships. Her other races started to crack, however. She was 8th in the final of the 200 back there – adding two-and-a-half seconds from her semifinal time, and scratched the 100 backstroke.

Hosszu really began to show the cracks in her iron during the 2020 International Swimming League season, where, entering with big expectations to be a top performer, she struggled to win races and finished just 33rd in the league in MVP scoring.

It is hard now to imagine a path back to major international podiums for Hosszu in her 30s, though she seems a primary candidate for focusing on World Cup and ISL meets as primary, rather than off-season, racing opportunities.

Hosszu’s struggles at these Olympics don’t undercut the accomplishments of what was one of the most incredible decades in swimming we’ve ever seen. She won 9 long course World Championships, including back-to-back-to-back-to-back titles in both the 200 IM and 400 IM. She reinvented herself from butterflier to backstroker to freestyler seemingly at will, holding World Records in 7 different individual events at various points of her career. She entered, and won, almost every race at a meet more than once. She amassed an incredible list of victories that most swimmers wouldn’t even attempt, let alone achieve, including 35 European Championships and 17 World Short Course Championships. She’s the winningest swimmer in FINA World Cup history, and it’s not even close.

Hosszu doesn’t have the Olympic medals to compete in debates with Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky, but in her own right she’s a swimmer who has redefined the sport, expectations for what’s possible, and has set a bar for future generations of swimmers.

Given enough time, enough water, and enough oxygen, iron will eventually rust, and the Iron Lady’s indominable exploits couldn’t last forever. But it was an incredible ride to watch.

Katinka Hosszu‘s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Results:

  • Women’s 400 IM – 5th place (4:35.98)
  • Women’s 200 IM – 7th place (2:12.38)
  • Women’s 200 fly – Scratch
  • Women’s 200 backs – 20th (2:12.84)

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Yozhik
1 month ago

She was just another swimmer with no progress at the age of 23 until she teamed with Tusup after London Olympics. He made her 3 time Olympic champion at next Olympic Games. She declined rapidly after separating from him.
This Olympics witnesses a lot of swimmers in their thirties who are still contenders and demonstrate strong performance. Hosszu is not among them.

Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
Reply to  Yozhik
1 month ago

If Hosszu were Russian, there would be no end to the plaudits. Who are you crappin’?

Yozhik
Reply to  Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 month ago

Please stop this “Russian” crap. Yes, “Yozhik” (cute hedgehog) is a Russian word. That is how my parents nicknamed me for my haircut when I was a little child. Yes, I was educated in Russian language, but I’m not an ethnic Russian. I escaped from Soviet Union long long long time ago being provided a refuge by USA government. But it’s true that I still have cultural ties with the place where I was born. As any of us. Because the youth is the best part of our life despite it was difficult or even dangerous sometimes because my parent’s family was a minority. My children are Americans and have no inclination to associate themselves with the place I came… Read more »

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  Yozhik
1 month ago

Could you please name the medalists so far in this Olympics who are over the age of 30?

As far as I can tell, the only one is Allison Schmitt (on relays)

Yozhik

Belmonte was 0.2sec short of the podium in 400IM. Is it an example of medal contender?

tkrisz
Reply to  Yozhik
1 month ago

It is definitely a false statement, that all of her success is due to Shane. She was a WC during the pre-Shane and post-Shane era as well.

Yozhik
Reply to  tkrisz
1 month ago

I don’t want to start a long discussion about this strange tandem that was mostly business driven than romantic in my opinion. Especially don’t want to do so with Hungarians. If you wish I can put it this way: London and Tokyo Olympics are disasters. Rio Olympics cycle with two world records and Olympic medals – a great success. And craziness of Shane on the stands suggesting he is involved somehow in Hosszu’s success.
Maybe all of this is a simple coincidence and I’m making too much of it. Neither you nor me know that for sure..

Last edited 1 month ago by Yozhik
Juhuu
Reply to  Yozhik
1 month ago

I do agree that Tusup was a major factor in her success but Hosszu was also very much needed here as Tusup has not been able to achieve any result with any other athlete and he did have a lot of young talent under his wing at some point when he tried to make a comeback as a coach. Literally nobody was able to take his training method and put up with him.

So the perfect recipe included the both of them.

Hosszu is in a very different relationship now, all loved up which on one hand must be nice for her but nobody is pushing her boundaries which clearly shows in her performance.

She’ll definitely need… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Juhuu
Smith-Jacoby-Huske-Weitzeil
1 month ago

Simply a phenomenal career.

tkrisz
1 month ago

Don’t say farewell to her, she did not quit. Won’t be easy to come back, but she will definitely try. Seems like she could not handle the covid situation well and probably selfcoaching was not a good idea.

SwimJon
1 month ago

A new generation is out there to fight for their spot on the throne. What a phenomenal swimmer she is and what a crazy Olympic cycle…

Juhuu
1 month ago

Although she hasn’t made an official statement yet, she’d hinted after finishing 7th in 200 IM that she would not be able to finish her carrier like this…

Constant competing was her training regime and by not being able to that because of covid she was completely out of her depth here.

I do hope that she’ll be able to bounce back. Paris is 3 years away she’ll be 35 by then, we shall see…

Last edited 1 month ago by Juhuu
Juhuu
Reply to  Juhuu
1 month ago

Or she could just retire, she literally achieved everything there’s to be achieved in the sport and more.
In this case she probably just should have skipped Tokyo altogether and finish on top.

rockjano
Reply to  Juhuu
1 month ago

True…

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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