Katinka Hosszu Spat With Hungarian Fed Raises Doping-Control Whereabouts Issues

Katinka Hosszu - by Patrick B. Kraemer

The spat between Katinka Hosszu and the Hungarian federation has highlighted serious questions about out-of-competition anti-doping tests, the filing of whereabout forms and who knows what when

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The spat between Katinka Hosszu and the Hungarian federation has highlighted serious questions about out-of-competition anti-doping tests, the filing of whereabout forms and who knows what when


Craig Lord

To the Hungarian reader who left a comment – thanks for the info – your comment cannot be published because you did not leave a working email address

Matyas Keresztes

As far as I know Laszlo Kiss said in an interview (Which aired on M4 Sunday(!) afternoon. [M4 is Hungarian National TV’s sport channel]) something along the lines of “I would like to discuss the issues with Katinka but as far as I know she went to the US for a meet” and then on Monday he said he didn’t know she was going to the US. So what then? 🙂
Here is the article that discusses this controversy (sorry, it’s in Hungarian):

Craig Lord

Thanks MK (i allude to the contradiction in the article — when the fed says it knew). On the other question (removed from view), I have updated your profile accordingly (I think you had to tick a ‘display’ box when registering but will ask digital when I can get to it)

Judit Gál

Some additions:
1. Like Matyas said, they knew before Monday, that Hosszu would be swimming in the USA, so I think one can call their statement about this “We realized all these things on Monday” as a clear lie.
2. The Hungarian Anto-Dopping Group said that Hosszu had already given her schedule according to the rules, 90 days prior to her race. The main point of their statement was that the federation should have known about Katinka’s program, since they have access to the system (like FINA, WADA etc. too). No doping control issues actually around Hosszu.
3. John Martin, the communications manager of the USA Swimming Federation declared to one of the main Hungarian news site (Origo.hu) that they (USA Swimming) has already sent an official invitation to the Hungarian Federation when Hosszu entered to the Arena Pro (probably months ago).

Judit Gál

This is the original article from Origo.hu, unfortunately it is in Hungarian.

Craig Lord

Thanks Judit (google chrome is not bad – not perfect 🙂 but not bad at translating such things). If they have access to the system and all was well, then that adds up to an allegation of a lie, of course.
The USA Swimming invitation is somewhat irrelevant… feds get such things all the time; doesn’t mean anyone is going, of course. There’s no connection between a fed to fed invite and the individual choices of swimmers in a great many cases worldwide.

Judit Gál

I try to translate the most relevant parts from the article:
“When a swimmer from outside the USA shows intention (officially) that he or she would like to compete at an event organized by the USA Swimming Federation, according to the rules, the USA SF sends an official invitation to the national federation of the swimmer (which contains that their swimmer wants to compete at the event). – answered John Martin to Origo’s question…”

In my opinion, it means that the Hungarian federation should have known Katinka’s future schedule for months even if they did not use the system of the WADA.

Craig Lord

Judit, good point 🙂 Thanks. Seems the fed didn’t know a lot of things someone at the fed must have known all things being equal…

Daniel Mills

Why would the head coach of a national federation have access to a swimmer’s whereabouts? Anti-doping authorities are completely separate entities. In the organization I work in, we need clearance to share any type of personal information, even within the organization. A person’s location is not information that should by shared freely, that would be deeply disturbing from a privacy point of view.

Do you have any indication that coaches of national federations are notified of a person’s whereabouts, or is that an assumption you have made on your own?

Craig Lord

Daniel, I don’t know what line of business your company is in so I couldn’t comment on that. Clearly what applies in a standard corporate set up may not be applicable in the realm of elite sport (sometimes that’s a bad thing but sometimes that is a pragmatic thing that speaks to the nature of the activity and the rules that govern that activity).
Many head coaches know the general whereabouts of swimmers (by general I mean that many will know that X is at Y pool, gym, hotel or somewhere in the vicinity on this camp, that race-train trip or in the home environment … we’re not talking stalking here, just general schedules and locations). For example, I know of nations where the plans of home coaches of swimmers likely to be on the national team at the next big meet have to have their plans for the season approved, complete with where they’re going on camps, where they’ll be racing etc, and sometimes funding hangs on it.
In some nations, the head coach is a professional hired by the national federation. The national federation and the head coach are one in terms of the organisation of the troops.
So, in this scenario head coach and federation are fairly interchangeable. I don’t really see that saying I’ll be at pool x between 6 and 8am from Mon to Friday and these are my travel plans (speaking generally) amount to an invasion of privacy in a realm in which being asked to pee in a bottle in front of a same-sex agent (that’s the harder part, of course) is par for the course thanks to the cheats of the world who have made that a necessity.
Whereabout forms are also filled in by folk of 14 years old and thereabouts. Their parent may help, of course, but so might a coach given that the coach and club/national program has a vested interest in making sure no mistakes are made.
Leading me to the issue I’m raising: the federation is obliged to pay for the costs of any whereabouts ‘mistakes’ (no shows) that a swimmer may make – but if they don’t even have access to the general details of those whereabouts of a swimmer in their late 20s and self-reliant (and in this particular case very wealthy), then why should the federation have a financial obligation related directly to the issue of whereabouts as written into the rule?
For any penalty (if penalty is the right way to deal with such things) to have an impact on the person who made the ‘mistake’ or committed the ‘offence’, whichever of those may be the truth in any particular case, the message would need to be felt directly not via a federation (some of them state funded and hardly watching the pennies with quite the same caution with which a family budget or a corner shop may be run, for example) that will hardly feel the breeze and may actually end up paying the costs of a deliberate offence committed by a swimmer they have no control over. Hope that makes sense.
In some places in the world, by the way, there have been cases of anti-doping agents being uncomfortably close to the federations whose swimmers they test; cases of anti-doping officials also being team doctors for national and even multi-sport Olympic teams – so you shouldn’t assume that they are always ‘complete separate entities’ even though that may well often be the case.


The Austin entry requirement are up here:


If a foreign swimmer is a registered member of USA swimming (no US citizenship required for this and it’s common for Canadians and assorted college age foreign athletes because it gives a few more high level competition opportunities in a year) then, except for international team selection meets, they’re generally treated the same way a registered member of USA swimming who is an American citizen is when it comes to selective entry meets.

The rules for foreign entries who are not members of USAS are pretty much designed to let USAS verify a foreign swimmer is a member in good standing with their home country and they’ve met entry time standards.

Katinka is entered as ‘Unattached’ affiliation in Austin rather than by a country affiliation like the Swedes and French are so it’s possible her federation was out of the loop on her participation there if she entered via a valid USAS membership instead of a foreign national entry as the psych sheets seem to suggest.

Craig Lord

Thanks for that explanation Beachmouse (that scenario suggests a foreign swimmer might be able to enter without their nation being informed … though Hungarian reports suggest that some kind of invitation did go from USAS to Hung fed … whatever the truth there’s certainly inconsistency in the mix)


As you said Craig, whether the organizers notified the Hungarian federation or not, it doesn’t matter.
What matters is that ever since Katinka’s conference, the federation is trying so hard to depict Katinka as the wrong doer in the Hungarian media. Luckily, they are failing though because they can’t even lie consistently it seems like.
In any case, I can only hope that at the end truth will emerge and swimmers will be the ones who will benefit from it the most so they can prepare in piece.


Is there not a danger that Hosszu could be left off the team if this spat continues?

Craig Lord

That would be extraordinary, Ger, even for a fed that has a history of making up a whole event to grant its selected team Olympic qualification and entry times 20 years ago … I’d imagine they will do all they can to have harmony and success come the crunch, though you never know what twists and turns such things take… they might leave the coach off the team, for example.


It is a testament to strong swimming history and coaching that Hungary still produces top world class swimmers despite such a mess by their Federation.

Hetty Oliver

Normally a swimmer competing in another State or country requires Clearance from their Federation, so if the Hungarian Federation gave her clearance to compete they should know where she is. As “beachmouse” said Katinka is swimming “unattached” so the norm then is that your times do not feature on your Federations Team Manager to be used for other meets. Is this to possibly get back at the tearing up of the contract??

Craig Lord

Mmm… who knows, Hetty. Whatever the truth of any detail in the mix of the mess, it seems to me that neither side is playing as nicely as it might with the other …


I looked back at either Santa Clara or Mesa results from last year, and if I’m guessing at club codes correctly, she was listed as Hungary rather than unattached then. (Unattached designation either means a registered with USAS swimmer doesn’t train with a registered club or they’ve recently changed clubs and haven’t been at the new club long enough to be officially allowed to compete and score points with their new club yet.)

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