Hungarian swimmer Bela Banki Horvath set the new world record (5:24.20) in the 200m backstroke event in the 95-99 age group. The previous record in this event and this very age group was set 21 years ago. By the way, 95-year-old swimmer Bela Banki Horvath is the maturest athlete at the 16th FINA World Masters Championships.
The Hungarian swimmer took questions from a reporter of the Kazan 2015 OC's Press Office and revealed the secret of his longevity and amazing physical condition.
– How do you feel after the heat?
– Excellent. Pretty fresh, pretty healthy.
– What about the water?
– It was something unusual for me, something new, frankly I did not expect to swim so good. The water was also perfect and I broke the record. The previous one was set 21 years ago. It is a success!
– Have you competed at the Masters tournament before?
– Of course I have. It was 23 years ago when I first competed at these Championships. I’ve grabbed 13 gold medals over this time.
– What is the secret of your perfect physical condition?
– Good nutrition, healthy lifestyle and undoubtedly regular sport activities!
– How much time do you dedicate to sport?
– Not that much actually as I used to, I am 95 years old now but I every two days I still race 800m and try to do morning exercises.
– What can you wish younger athletes?
– Even when you start failing to show outstanding time, don’t stop. Keep on doing sport as a hobby and you will definitely set a record.
– Did you know you could break the world record?
– The Hungarian Masters Swimming Championships were held this January. There I finished in a better time than the word record. Unfortunately, my time was not registered because the pool was not equipped with high-tech timekeeping device. I knew I would swim better, but eight months passed between the competition and the Kazan Championships, so I had a serious training regime.
– Is there any age at which you have to leave sport?
– No. As I say: "As long as I live, I swim, and as long as I swim, I live.”
– Do you have grandchildren? Do they do sport?
– Yes. My grandson Piter has gone swimming since childhood. But when he was 17, I told him that it was time to stop and focus on studies.
– What has been the highlight of the Championships for you so far?
– I guess when my grandson ran up to the pool and shouted out my time has been the highlight for me so far. At that very moment I realised I had set a new world record as when I was swimming, I could not know it.