Pac-12 champion Zalan Sarkany is not currently listed on Arizona State’s roster for the 2023-24 season, but the 19-year-old distance specialist told SwimSwam he plans on returning to Tempe for the spring semester after training back home in Hungary this fall.
Sarkany said he is training with David Betlehem and Kristof Rasovszky in Veszprem, Hungary. Rasovszky, 26, is the reigning Olympic silver medalist in the open water 10km while the 20-year-old Betlehem won gold in the same event at the 2022 World Junior Open Water Championships.
“Distance training going hard!” Sarkany told SwimSwam. “Usually we swim around 8-10km sessions. Here it’s all about going fast and descending most of the times.”
Sarkany joined the Sun Devils midseason last spring and made an immediate impact as a freshman. He broke a 1000 free school record from 1984 in his first-ever short course yards performance, won the 1650 free at the Pac-12 Championships (14:41.65) to help ASU capture its first conference title in program history, and placed 8th in the 1650 at the NCAA Championships (14:42.80) to contribute to the Sun Devils’ first runner-up finish ever at the national meet. He also scored in the 500 free (8th – 4:16.48) and 400 IM (12th – 3:45.04) at Pac-12s.
Best Times (SCY)
- 500 free – 4:16.48
- 1000 free – 8:49.31
- 1650 free – 14:41.65
- 400 IM – 3:44.56
Last month, Sarkany earned 4th-place finishes in both the 800-meter freestyle (7:55.26) and 1500 free (15:04.88) at the LEN European U23 Championships. Both were lifetime bests and sizable drops from his times at April’s Pro Swim Series stop in Westmont (8:04.08/15:26.63).
Sarkany said he expects to return to ASU around Dec. 10. He figures to play a key role in the Sun Devils’ pursuit of their first-ever national title.