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TEN QUESTIONS WITH GEZA SZABO
Senior Geza Szabo holds the school record in the 200-yard butterfly.
Notes: School record-holder in the 200-fly (1:49.03)Ö2003 Northeast Conference Rookie of the MeetÖ2003 NEC 500-free championÖ2004 ECAC 200-fly championÖ2004 America East 200-fly and 500-free silver medalistÖ2005 America East 200-fly championÖ2005 America East 100-fly bronze medalistÖ2005 ECAC 200-fly silver medalistÖ2005 Academic All-District second team.
Q: What are your goals and expectations for the upcoming America East Championships for yourself and for the team?
Geza Szabo: Obviously I would like the team to win. Thatís the goal. We won the past three years. For myself, to be honest, I just want to swim some lifetime best times. This is going to be the last meet of my college career, so I just want a happy ending.
Q: Youíre from
GS: I wanted to come to the
Q: How did you end up at UMBC?
GS: I talked to different colleges. Itís pretty hard to make a decision through the phone and the Internet. I e-mailed different coaches. Based on what I saw on the Internet and in the media guide, UMBC looked like a good swimming program, and I wanted to study finance.
Q: Do you get homesick being so far away from home?
GS: Not anymore. I used to get homesick a lot. My first year was pretty hard. I still miss Hungary, but I donít get the homesick feeling everyday. I go home for the summer every year.
Q: What do you miss most about
GS: Obviously I miss my family a lot. I miss some of my friends. I miss the culture and the country itself. Itís just so different. Thereís so many small things. You donít have to drive to the grocery store. You can watch soccer on TV. You eat Hungarian food.
Q: What are you going to miss most about swimming?
GS: Iím not sure if I want to stop swimming. Yeah, my college career is over now, but I feel like I need the structure. I need to do something a few times a week. Now, just a week before the championships, Iím really excited. I keep thinking about the meet, thinking about being on the podium after the race, hopefully. Thatís why I swim, to be in that situation, to get pumped. I definitely want to swim, at least for fun, a few days a week. If I have the energy, maybe Iíd go to some meets. I guess I need the excitement of the races sometimes.
Q: What are you going to miss most about UMBC?
GS: Iím going to miss the swim team a lot. The team is really like a small family. If youíre down, you have a bad day, you always have someone there to talk to. We really care about each other, and I think thatís great. I think the team really helped me to get used to the American way of life.
Q: Youíve won a lot over your four years here. Is there any one win that has been the most special?
GS: I like every single one of them. It was very special to me when I broke the school record (in the 200-fly at the George Mason Patriot Invitational as a freshman in 2002). I hope I will be able to break it again next week. Since Iím a butterflier, it was very special to me when I won the 500-freestyle in the Northeast Conference Championship meet my freshman year. That was great. It was really unexpected to me. After three years I still canít believe it.
Q: Why did you start swimming when you were young?
GS: My parents wanted me to learn how to swim. I went to an elementary school where five times a week we went to swimming for an hour. My coach told me I was talented, so I went to swim with the club team in my home town. When I was a little kid, I didnít really like it, but I got used to it. As I got older I started enjoying swimming more and more. When I was 10, 11, 12, I really hated it and I always wanted to quit, but my parents never let me quit. I always wanted to quit in the middle of the season, but they always told me I had to wait until the end of the season, and then I could quit. But the end of the season was always in the middle of summer, when everything was fine. We didnít have school; it was good to be at the pool when it was hot outside. So I stuck there.
Q: Who has been the biggest influence throughout your career?
GS: I always looked up to my parents and my brothers. I have two older brothers; they are 34 and 32, so I was the little kid in the family. I know my parents had to work real hard to get to the point where they are now. Our family lives in a pretty good standard in Hungarian terms, and I know they had to work a lot to get there. They always supported me in everything. They always helped me to reach my goals. Same thing with my brothers. I remember when they were in college, I saw them studying and working hard. Theyíre my family, but theyíre also my role models.