21 Feb Kata Korponay – the professional swimmer
Sometimes passion can grow into a way of living and shape one’s personality.
Kata learned how to swim even before she could walk properly, which developed her affection for practicing a sport that would embody her future.
By the time she was in the 5th Grade, her parents became conscious of her ability and encouraged her to take her after-school activity further. That was the moment she started training for contests and pave her way to victory.
Starting from 2012, Kata started to see the results of her every day hard work. Her greatest achievement so far is having competed at the Balkan Games. She is specialized in the butterfly stroke and the backstroke.
Becoming a professional swimmer requires a lot of effort and resilience. Kata’s daily schedule starts with a swimming session in the morning, going to school and then back to the swimming pool before she goes home in the evening. Once she gets home she has to study and prepare for the next school day.
What fuels her drive to hit the swimming-pool every day is her desire to achieve the best result she can during competitions and improve her personal time record. Constant improvement is very important to Kata and she stated that for the moment, she cannot imagine her life without swimming.
Her family plays a very important and active role in her life, as they all moved from Baia Mare to Cluj-Napoca so Kata can have a high-quality training and education. She was raised in a family of sportspeople, as her dad used to be a handball player and her mother an athlete. She speaks very highly of her father, who is very enthusiastic about her contests and her daily training. His philosophy has helped her push her boundaries – ‘Just do your best, as much as you can’. This is also the reason why she feels that she is in a competition just with herself and no-one else.
Kata spends the precious moments before she dives in trying to disconnect from everything else and think solely of what she has to do. The 17-year-old strongly feels that she does not need to prove anything to anyone other than her own self. This mindset kept her away from disappointment and inspired her to move forward with even greater enthusiasm and determination.
There might be little time left for socializing. However, Kata transferred to Transylvania College in September 2017 and she has already made friends amongst her colleagues.
‘They are the best colleagues I’ve had so far. We get along very well.’
She is also looking forward to seeing them cheer for her at the next contests that are to be held in Cluj-Napoca.
Even though she moved away from Baia-Mare, she still keeps in touch with her childhood friend and they share stories from swimming training and contests. She recounts with great joy how she persuaded her best friend to take up swimming classes so they could spend more time together. They are now both professional swimmers.
Swimming has a great impact on Kata and forged her personality – she learned how to bring out the best in herself, how to test her limits and begin with the end in mind. This sport has also taught her how to train her body and mind and how to put things first in order to achieve the result she wants.
As Kata is now in Year 12, she is already thinking about which college to choose and which would be the best path for her to follow. She is interested in Business Economics and is considering going to study in the USA in order to fulfill her swimming career as well. Another option would be to go to a college in Europe.
For the time being, Kata is training for the National Swimming Contest, which will take place in March 2018.
Good luck, Kata and thank you for allowing us to catch a glimpse into the life of a professional swimmer!