Semmelweis University entered the swimming competition with the highest number of participants with 3 teams of four. The men’s 4×25 meter relay team finished in fourth place in a close fight. Rector Merkely represented the team of dr. Péter Kulyassa (resident of the Heart and Vascular Center), dr. Szabolcs Tóth (physician at the Heart and Vascular Center) and dr. István Szigyártó (resident at the Heart and Vascular Center). In the interview following the race, rector dr. Merkely emphasized that this has been the 20th time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic last year, where Semmelweis medical team provided medical services and ensured that safety protocols were followed at the event. It is essential for professional athletes to stay motivated in order to participate in competitions. The daily workout routine and the immense pressure is hard to bear without setting goals. Dr. Merkely felt quite satisfied with the performance of the university teams. The teams were made up of medical professionals, who are responsible for the background work and providing health care service at the event on a daily basis.
“We could have invited the professional swimmers from our water polo team to participate, but today it was the team of 12 providing medical service at the event to be in the spotlight. I believe it was an outstanding experience for all of us. Competing in an event like this, experiencing the crowd cheering and applauding for us and seeing how we can catch up with the opponents next to us are all memories will remain with us forever,” added rector dr. Merkely.
Laura Ilyés (two-time silver medalist at the European Junior Swimming Championships), who started her studies at Semmelweis University in September, also competed in the women’s race on Thursday. Rector Merkely is glad that the talented swimmer is now studying at Semmelweis University and hopes that Hungary can cheer for her at the Olympic finals in Paris.
Dr. Veronika Müller was the captain of the women’s relay consisting of dr. Krisztina Heltai (assistant professor of the Department of Cardiology), dr. Nóra Sydó (assistant professor of the Department of Cardiology) and dr. Emese Csulak (resident of the Heart and Vascular Center). It was a great experience for her to participate and to swim along with university colleagues.
“I am very grateful to have the opportunity to participate in the event as an athlete. It is a completely different experience than following the events as a spectator from the grandstand,” added dr. Veronika Müller.
Dr. Álmos Gógl (deputy chief medical examiner of the medical team), captain of the mixed relay team completed the 4x25m distance with the team made up of dr. Klaudia Vivien Nagy (assistant professor of the Heart and Vascular Center), Rita Lehoczky (radiology technician of the Heart and Vascular Center) and Melinda Velez (clinical nurse).
“As we have been responsible for the smooth operation of the event all along, it was good to take a look at how the system is operating from within,” said dr. Gógl.
The special relay took place after the official program of the event with almost 200 spectators watching in the arena. The organizers payed special attention to every detail, making sure that participants could experience what it feels like competing in an official sports event. Participants did a warm-up swim, listened to the briefing in the waiting room by the large pool, greeted the fans and followed the events on the giant projector screens, which showed every moment of them walking up to the starting blocks. The audience greeted them with enthusiastic cheers of support as they entered the arena wearing their blue swimming caps and bathrobes with the Semmelweis University logo on them. Teams of doctors, nurses, firefighters, police, teachers and well-known musicians dived in and competed with each other in the water. In the end, the team of law enforcement workers came out winning the race. At the end of the event, the participants climbed out of the pool exhausted, but smiling, because this night was not about winning.
Photo: Attila Kovács – Semmelweis University
Translation: Norbert Lukács