Feature: the Iron Lady’s coach and hubby on how they’ve turned the swimming world upside down

From time to time, a particularly gifted athlete appears on the world stage who totally dominates his or her sport, smashing records and becoming invincible. In some sports, it may happen only once in a generation, but when it happens, when that athlete reaches the top of the game, it’s spectacular to behold.

Hungary’s three-time Olympic champion, Katinka Hosszú, is one of those. Nobody has ever simultaneously held world records in all five individual medley swimming events, until the Iron Lady came along. Five swimming events, five world records, and she owns them all.

If you know the story of Katinka Hosszú, then chances are you know something about her coach, who is also her husband, Shane Tusup. That’s because Tusup, and the pair together, have stirred some controversy.

Tusup has a reputation as a bit of a mad man. A New York Times story in the lead up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games said that the two “raise eyebrows at the pool” and quoted another Olympic swimmer as saying that she had “seen a lot of inappropriate and not-O.K. behavior in Shane.”

After her disappointing performance in London in 2012, where she was supposed to medal but came home empty-handed, Tusup took over and turned her training regime on its head. She would punish herself with a brutal schedule of competitions. The more competitive events she swam in a given month, they believed, the less pressure she would put on herself to be the best in any of them. Critics derided him for being greedy, chasing the prize money in races that an Olympian should ignore.

Her results since then and, in particular, her showing in Rio last summer have silenced their critics.

It’s difficult to believe today, but she wasn’t always taken seriously as a competitor. Early on, when she went to the United States to develop her skills, she was told by trainers to give up swimming and open a beauty salon instead. Fortunately for the sport, she ignored them.

Katinka Hosszú won the nickname “Iron Lady” for a reason. Her success is in her great ability, her determination and discipline and a unique training regime that has revolutionized swimming.

Behind that rigorous training regime and the drop-dead schedule of races is her husband and coach, Shane Tusup.

Tusup is featured this year at Brain Bar Budapest where — for the first time ever — he’ll delve into that unique, empowering training regime and how the Iron Lady is turning the swimming world upside down.

Find out about the rest of the lineup here, and watch this space for special announcements about other surprises — some 40 other speakers — we have in store.

More than seven thousand people will attend this year’s Brain Bar Budapest. Discount tickets are available here.

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