Budapest, from a World Champion Swimmer’s Perspective – Interview with László Cseh

FINA World Championship is without a doubt one of the most exciting sport events this summer. László Cseh, the Hungarian six-time Olympic medallist is among the competitors competing every weekend until the great race. In spite of his strict schedule, he willingly answered some of our questions.

How are you preparing for FINA?

I’m exercising as hard as I always do. For me, the most important thing right now is to concentrate on the proper technique: I have to focus on every small movement I make.

How should we imagine this process?

Besides swimming, I try to take part in other competitions as well to get used to the stressful situation. That’s why I’m competing at the Dunaferri Championship this weekend, then there is another competition, and right before FINA I’m flying to Rome for a third contest.

It is going to be your 9th time competing at World Championships. Do you think it will be a different experience since it is organized in Budapest?

It’s always different to compete inland: it’s a fantastic feeling with thousands of Hungarian supporters cheering for you. However, I have to focus on swimming and not be distracted by the crowd. Otherwise, I would be nervous and uptight.

Do you usually take a moment to check on your loved ones before jumping into the pool?

No. At that moment, the outside world ceases to exist: all I think about is swimming.

Do you have a routine that you always do before races?

Yes, I do. I shave my head bald, this is me saying to the world “I’m ready.” I have been doing this for about 15 years.

Who do you think is your biggest rival?

Usually, I try to focus on myself, not my rivals. However, if I have to name someone, Tamás Kenderesi is a great swimmer.

You were born and raised in Budapest, but you live in Halásztelek, a small town nearby, at the moment. Why is that so?

I love Halásztelek; my parents live here, too. When I go to the capital, I always realise that there are so many things that are different there compared to the countryside. The tranquillity of the latter is important to me: for instance, I prefer taking my dog for a walk without slaloming between vehicles.

So you commute between the two places. Isn’t it tiring?

I’m used to commuting. I visit Budapest quite often, I also train in Törökbálint, which is about a 15-minute car drive from Halásztelek.

What’s your favourite place in Budapest?

I like training at Oxygen Wellness Naphegy, and I also enjoy walking on the shores of the Danube. I don’t really have a favourite place I always go to, I like discovering new places with my friends.

Do you have a favourite bath or swimming pool?

I don’t really like baths, I only like to relax in hot water from time to time. Among the indoor swimming pools, Tüskecsarnok is my favourite one.

Do you prefer Pest or Buda?

I prefer Buda, since my grandparents lived there, close to the Castle. During my childhood years, I used to visit them regularly, so I have plenty of good memories I made there.

Could you imagine yourself living in Budapest?

I was thinking about it, but right now I wouldn’t change the serenity of the countryside for the bustle of the city.

What are your plans after FINA has ended?

We have to wait and see the results of the championships. I don’t know how motivated I will be afterwards, but I don’t think I could finish my career at this point. I would like to continue swimming.