A FOUR-TIME OLYMPIAN and the current world-record holder in the 200- and 400-meter IM, Hungary's Katinka Hosszu, nicknamed the Iron Lady, is known for her intense racing schedule, which includes frequent competitions with grueling event lineups.
"I use racing as training a lot throughout the season," Hosszu says. "I go into competitions with the mentality of, This is just training, and let's see what I can do."
Despite a split from her husband and longtime coach, Shane Tusup, last year, Hosszu says her training plan has remained steady. A perennial medal threat in butterfly, backstroke and freestyle races, in addition to the medleys, she embraces the challenge of maintaining her performance in all four strokes.
"It makes it a lot more fun," she says. "I'm not getting burned out, I'm not getting bored; there's always a stroke that's going better than the others, there's always something to work on."
To prepare for the 2020 Games, the 30-year-old Hosszu says she won't take a significant break from the pool for the next 12 months, not even after the FINA World Championships, set to begin on July 12 in Gwangju, South Korea. And beginning in October, Hosszu is slated to compete for Team Iron, a Budapest-based club built around Hosszu's personal brand, in the newly formed International Swimming League.
With more competitions than ever, Hosszu will have no trouble being fit for Tokyo.
STROKES OF WORK
Dry-land exercises to help in the water
Resting a bar across the upper back, bend knees until your thighs are parallel with the ground, then stand up. "For breaststroke and butterfly," Hosszu says, "it's important to activate the glutes."
In a plank position, rest your lower legs on an exercise ball, tighten your core and do flutter kicks. "Most important is that your core is really strong," she says.
The latissimus dorsi muscles, in the mid- and lower back, are pivotal for all four strokes. So Hosszu does pull-ups with her hands placed wider than her shoulders as part of a circuit.