World Champ Peter Bernek Retires from Swimming and Begins Coaching Ajna Kesely

World Champion Peter Bernek retired from swimming in September and began coaching fellow Hungarian swimmer Ajna Kesely later that month. Both Bernek and Kesely swam under coach Gyorgy Turi during their swimming careers. 

Bernek said that his shoulder was injured before Tokyo, and while he originally hoped to continue swimming through the World Championships in May, he decided to retire. At the same time, he announced his intention to coach in the future. 

M4 Sport reported in September that Bernek would take on coaching Kesely. Bernek wrote on Instagram: 

“A lot has happened to me lately, and pretty quickly. My racing career is over and I’ve become a coach! Somewhere before, I planned to do this, but I didn’t think it would be so ‘fast’. Now I have the opportunity that I want to take. A new phase of my sporting life begins, in which my partner will be @keselyajna! Ajna and I have clarified all the sporting issues that are important to know who – what to expect from each other and what to do. I have gained the trust as a junior coach, which is extremely important to me and very motivated! We are going to get into the tasks that will be a new line-up for everyone, it will require a different kind of work, a lot of learning on my part and lots of effort on both sides! I can’t wait to see the results of our work together.”

Kesely posted a positive message about the new relationship on her Instagram in November. Kesely wrote

“Emotional rollercoaster every moment! Where I feel unstoppable again, where happiness takes me from my moments to my moments! Three months ago, I thought, ‘It’s time to imagine yourself without swimming, because maybe the feelings you experienced a long time ago may not come back.’ I slowly gave up chasing this, and when I was standing at the gate of the overrun, a hand pushed me back… and I have grasped the foot of this emotion again! I haven’t enjoyed myself so well in a 400 freestyle since 2019. Peti tries to show me what the meaning of swimming is, what is to be let go and seized, and he fills my heart with gratitude and thanks!”

At the 2021 FINA Short Course World Championships, Kesely placed 9th in the 400 free, 8th in the 800 free, 5th in the 4 x 200 free relay, and 7th in the 4 x 100 free relay. Following Short Course Worlds, Kesely wrote

“I say it’s been a terrible year, and it’s been beautiful and instructive. Full of pain, smiles and adventure. With something new…2021 taught me this one moment counts, the NOW! Let’s have some rest, eating, drinking, celebrating.”

In late November, SwimSwam reported that Turi resigned following abuse accusations from several former swimmers. Bernek said that Turi had been shouting at him “in an unacceptable manner” ever since he was 14. 

Kesely was Turi’s last elite swimmer to leave him after the Tokyo Olympics. Under Turi, Kesely won three Youth Olympic championships and one Junior World title. At the Tokyo Games, Kesely finished 10th in the 400 free, 13th in the 800 free and 9th in the 1500 free.

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Time Keeper
1 year ago

Does Schooling reporting to military service today mean he is retiring too?