Blog guest: Sebastian Sabo
Serbian National Team swimmer Sebastian Sabo won the bronze medal for 50m butterfly at the European Short-Course Championship in Copenhagen (Denmark) in 2017, and is also a semi-finalist of the World Championship in Budapest held also in 2017. Swimming 50m butterfly, in the competition in Debrecen (Hungary, 2019) Sabo stopped the stopwatch at 22.9 seconds. Having finished the race in less than 23 seconds, he became one of the 20 fastest swimmers in this discipline in history and World No.1 at the moment!
Apart from the excellent individual result, he was also successful in the historic 4x100 freestyle relay at the Word Championship in Budapest in 2017, which took the 9 th position and was almost left without the world finals. Today, as a swimmer at PK Senta (Serbia), he is telling us for the Swimming Dad as our #Blog guest, how he sees swimming, as a race of “individuals”, or a relay race of the best ones, which lesson has he learnt when swimming for the national team, and which relay has made the biggest impression on him, and which one he would like to swim again and why.
Is swimming a race of “individuals” or a relay race of the best ones (from your experience)?
I think it depends on the swimmers. All individuals have their own race they love the most, the tactics they use for that specific race, the way how they get ready for it, both before the training and before the race itself, when it’s most important. As I’ve met many top swimmers from different countries, I realised that we are all different. Out of 100 athletes, there are 100 different ways to make the same or similar result. If one thing works for one athlete, it does not necessarily mean that it will work for another one who competes in the same discipline. This is why I believe swimming is exclusively “an individual race”. When you are at the block about to start, you’re there all on your own, and you’re alone in the lane until the end of the race. Of course, you cannot do it without the support of the others, such as the family, coach, friends, etc. However, you’re still the one who has to do the thing right.
What is it that a relay can bring to a swimmer, and swimming cannot? What have learnt from relay races?
I would just like to make a reference to the previous answer. I believe that swimming is “an individual race”, but at the same time, one “individual race” makes ¼ of the relay race. Here, the other three relay swimmers and the final result depend on you, so there is an additional pressure. I’m sure that a relay race takes your maximum, since you represent not only yourself, but your club or your country, at that point. It is a usual case that relay swimmers are rivals in individual races, however, when you are together in a relay race, the rivalry disappears, and the sense of belonging prevails. We all belong to a thing to which everyone contributes by giving his/her maximum, fighting for the other members of the team and for the joint goal.
Which relay race are you proud of and which one would you like to swim again? And why?
I’d like to say here that there two relay races I’m proud of, and I swam them as a national team member together with my mates, who are also my friends. One is 4x100m freestyle at the World Championship in Budapest in 217, and the second one is 4x50m freestyle in Copenhagen at the European Championship in 2017. They were both amazing and we did a great job there. But, if I had to choose only one, I would go for the 4x100 in Budapest, with Velimir Stjepanović, Andrej Barna and Ivan Lenđer… First of all, because the atmosphere at the pool was amazing, something completely new to the swimming world, and also because of the desire and commitment the guys had, from the beginning until the end.