Katinka Hosszu: 4:32 Morning Breeze Of A 400IM Inside Her London 2012 Career Best

Katinka Hosszu by Fabio Ferrari - LaPresse
Katinka Hosszu by Fabio Ferrari - LaPresse

Never-ending race tour, the one supposed to make the swimmer race sharp, has become part of the signature of Katinka Hosszu and yet todays events make no sense on that score: 4:32.68 over 400m medley this morning in Lignano at an Italian federation invitation meet that will serve as no more than a time trial and…

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Ger

You would think that Shane Tusup would be getting offers from left right, and centre (has he?) for the miracles he has performed.
I wonder how the legal proceedings will unfold. Perhaps out of court to limit financial costs; an apology plus a token payment? It would be interesting to see how SW and CB handled their defence. If they called a number of witnesses, respected figures in swimming who concurred with CB’s comments, then that wouldn’t help KH’s reputation, even if she won the case.
I can’t enthuse about what she has done the past few years; there’s nothing like it. I’m very suspicious and I feel I should be. Michelle Smith almost got away with it and to a certain extent she did: she still has her medals. If the testers hadn’t called on that day, then we still wouldn’t know for sure.

Craig Lord

God Bless Taffy C is all I will say to that, Ger.

for33

I don’t know much about Ms. Hosszu, particularly on her career before the London Olympics. I’ve only seen videos of her swimming here and there. But as a question to somebody that’s followed her progress more closely: could it be that she’s improved her swimming technique enormously? I can’t say because I don’t know how she swam before 2012. That said, I’ve never been too impressed with her butterfly: in my humble opinion she throws way too much water in from of her when her arms and hands touch the surface.

Craig Lord

No,for33, I don’t believe there has been any significant improvement in technique relative to the gains made on the clock (her core strength makes her more ‘stable’ but that applies to a great many swimmers if you take 2010-2016 as the period to consider) since I watched her at the 2006 and then 2010 European Championships (2008-09 not applicable the argument in terms of comparisons) – she’s long been an efficient swimmer (Hungarians are taught good technique from a young age and many Hungarians have fine efficiency built in during their younger years); she has clearly become much stronger since 2013, and strength can and does change technique, not always for the better, of course (your ‘fly example a case in point).
Watch this 2010 400IM at Budapest Europeans, you may see what I mean:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ighpTw9mrU
It is not technique that has changed but power (core much more rigid) and endurance. Muscle definition is notably different 2010 to 2014-16.
The coach will doubtless be able to explain at some stage how that was achieved.

There’s something else: in 2010 she raced 6 400IMs all year and never looked like a swimmer who could do 10 top 400IMs a year without feeling the impact. Look at what happened since: in a schedule heavy in races on all strokes, all distances she also swam the following number of 400IMs per year:

2014: over 20 – 14 of them inside 4:40
2015: over 35 – 28 of them inside 4:40
2016: 12 efforts inside 4:40 already, and one inside 4:30

And no breakdown at all in form, no apparent wear, nothing beyond the normal fatigue that many feel in periods of training when taking on a few events every couple of months, let alone 20 plus races every month, month after month after month.

As I’ve suggested, it is a unique profile and approach in swimming

for33

Thank you Mr. Lord for your comment, as well as for the video. I agree that Ms. Hozzsu seems to be all about power nowadays. But it was great to watch Ms. Miley in the video; I really hope she can have a great performance in Rio.

Bad Anon

This season in the 400IM particularly she’s backing off the first 200 to have a strong back half and it’s working, lol 2.12 at midway and 4.32 at the end… she’s been 2.07 at midway enroute to a 4.30…. She’ll swim a near perfect split race in Rio for gold

Craig Lord

Bad Anon, backing off the first 200 in a ‘race’ with children is a pointless exercise when it comes to Rio. She will need a fast first half to have a chance to fulfil one of the most obvious predictions on the sheet. Why it is so obvious is of more interest in this place.

gheko

Katinka swims year round and never seems to need to taper to produce world class times, most others in heavy training are more likely to produce good not great times, also the number of events she does with ease on the world cup circuit are beyond the norm for all other swimmers.

Bad Anon

Think Hosszu can win 5 individual Olympic medals including 2golds; 100/200back 200/400IM and 200fly. A focus on medley and backstroke will be most conducive for excellent results

Blah Blah

imho this one is more obvious than ye shiwen and has been for a while now.

beachmouse

A while back, the site Let’s Run had an athletics ‘insider’ do a list of what he saw as red flags for athletes who may be of interest to anti-doping concerns. Three of them were: woman who has her husband as a coach, athlete tends to isolate themselves from former friends and teammates, and athlete seems to turn in a peak or near peak performance at ‘too many’ events per year.

No comment on the athletics insider’s comments.

Craig Lord

Which, Badanon, would deliver her first five Olympic medals, make her more successful at a single Games than Kirsty Coventry and that at the fourth time of asking at 27. And Coventry will be there to see it. A 32, not quite as fast these days after her peak years of 20-24 but doing a fine job on advocating clean sport through her work with WADA Athletes C.

gheko

And she will win a few medals, but many of us believe she has cheated.

Bad Anon

CL,
Coventry remembers Hosszu from Rome 2009 as the girl from Hungary who wore a suit much shinier than hers to beat Olympic champion Rice and herself to minor placings in the 400IM final. Now she’s reinvented herself as the iron lady. It will be interesting of Hosszu can maintain her dominance to Tokyo 2020; that’s several practices away…..

Craig Lord

Bad Anon, I think there’s Rio to deal with first – and then another story.

Bad Anon

It goes without saying. Didn’t mean to get ahead of myself 😉

Yozhik

@beachmouse: i’d be interested to read this article. It sounds so right. Whenever there is an absence of transparency there is a place for doubts and distrust. Take China for instance. All factors you’ve listed lead to the lack of transparency in the Hosszu’s case. To make the situation worse she started to cultivate and to capitalize on the image of “iron lady” that is supposed to explain unexplainable to those who are curious. Iron Lady – that’s it. What else do you need to know. So simple and effective.
This last meet is unusual by Hosszu’s standards. IM races only plus 200 free. No backstyle races. And again as it happened recently in Mesa – strong performance at first event and something ordinary after that. What is that? Just doing whatever is needed to do to collect money. Is it an inconvenient schedule that made her skipping 100 bk, 200bk, 100 fr where she had great chances? Maybe organizers restricted her participation in order not to make a mockery of this meet. The mystery about Hosszu is continuing.

ThereaLuigi

Yozhik, I tried to sent an email to the address you gave me, but it bounced. I believe there was a typo. Can you type it again?

CharlesB

While I understand your frustration with Hosszu’s performance profile, the problem is not her’s directly. Unlike some athletes, she seems to be fully visible and available on the international circuit and, I assume, available for regular testing. With modern biochemical tools and regular blood sampling, it would be impossible for her to injest substances that could not be detected. If the relevant authorities are focussed on her and she is coming out clean then I do not see how it can be PEDs. On the other hand, they may not be trying or could be incompetent/corrupt. The question you should be asking is, is she subject to frequent and random testing by trustworthy experts?

CharlesB

ingest!!

Craig Lord

CharlesB, the question you raise may well be legitimate (though it does not quite match the question in my mind). I do not, of course, suggest she is on PEDs. I suggest that she has a unique profile (one that no-one in world-class elite swimming is following and one that has clearly raised the doping question and illicited a response from her; one that is one of the most discussed topics in swimming far and wide, with many experts scratching their heads). Her unique profile raises legitimate questions for which I see no answers right now. In time, we may hear them/have them.

Ger

How did Lance Armstrong beat the testers so many times; how did Ben Johnson with his bulging muscles get away with it for so long? Testing is a reaction to doping; dopers have the advantage of changing their methods first.
Micro dosing for example. There was a BBC Panorama program from last year I think in which the presenter took EPO and it never showed up when he was tested.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i13u9PhjT_c

Here’s a Guardian article on the same topic:
http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/aug/20/doping-world-athletics-championships-cheats

Craig Lord

Ger, indeed, it is a fact, in general, that myriad tests can add up to ‘no positive’ even when PEDs are being used.

Yozhik

@CharlesB: Forget about PED. But you most likely are not denying the fact that something has been happening to Hosszu since 2013. You cannot say that some uncontrollable biological processes like ageing, puberty or pregnancy are responsible. So she does something now that she didn’t do before. Have you ever heard from her or her husband what it is? The increase of endurance training or lessening the load, gaining weight or losing some, more dry land exercises to increase the power or focusing on technique improvement, more sleep times, sexual activity, whatever. Something that wasn’t included before and what appeared to work perfectly for her now. Sure she isn’t obligated to reveal her “know how”. But given the fact that such significant changes in performance are lasting for three years already without any signs of slowing down are extremely unusual at her age, it would be better for her to say something. Otherwise people will look for simple explanations that proved to be correct in similar cases of consistent jump to the higher level of performance at pre-retirement age.
That is what I call the lack of transparency. But such things can be said about many swimmers. What do we know about Ledecky’s training process, besides the statement that she is working very hard. Just following this simple recipe doesn’t make from a good swimmer an extraordinary one. Maybe she has two hearts 🙂

Yozhik

@ThereaLuigi. It is not really important of what I was planning to tell you in private. But if you don’t mind to try one more time then there is the correct email address
y.miscellus@gmail.com

Blah Blah

CharlesB, testing is EASILY beaten. As Ger already pointed out. Add Marion Jones to the list, and many others. (And still many others who have yet to come clean/test positive, or be exposed by investigators and clean sport crusaders). Testing has improved but it is still, more or less, a joke. Even the thresholds themselves are a joke allowing for ample doping before triggering a positive.

RSASprinter

Lots of comments of many greats throughout history who beat the system on many occasions. A pity really, especially that it makes us think that a person that hasn’t ever tested positive may be enhancing their performance.

Insightful article, but disappointed that we are not able to trust even the names without a *.

Where to now?

Craig Lord

A much more robust system, RSAsprinter. Starting with the removal of anti-doping issues from FINA HQ: they should be nowhere near it, in there interests as well as the interests of clean sport.

RSASprinter

Fair enough, but what about in between then and now? How can we believe in any results, if it is so easy to cheat, as it is clearly made out in the comments.

Craig Lord

I’m afraid it comes down to trust, RSASprinter. We cannot know but we can trust and we can look at the signatures that enable us to trust (and at those that don’t)

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