By Jeff Brown
Youngstown State University swimmer Viktoria Orosz is having one of the best freshman seasons in school history, despite the difficult challenges of being an international student.
Orosz came to Youngstown last year from her home country of Hungary where she was already an accomplished swimmer in the backstroke and freestyle events.
“It was a big change for me,” she said. “At home we had different training plans and everything was different.”
Orosz was not on Matt Anderson’s, YSU swimming and diving head coach, radar until she reached out to him. After watching some tapes, he decided to make her the offer.
“Interestingly enough, she found us,” Anderson said. “A lot of the international kids will go through a recruiting service, but with her case, she bypassed that whole thing and just said ‘I’m going to do it myself.’”
Anderson said that the hard part of the transition for international students is the language gap.
“Its always a challenge for freshmen in general, but especially for the international freshmen. She came in and needed some work on her English and it’s improved a lot over the past year. That’s helped her a lot, so she’s a lot more confident just in general being here,” Anderson said. “She didn’t really know what was going on and she had trouble understanding people, but always in the pool she was ready to go.”
As Coach Anderson said, Orosz was always ready in the pool. She has already set school records in the 200-, 500-, 1,000- and 1,650-yard freestyle so far this season and has her eyes set on the Horizon League Championship in the 200-yard free style — which is a goal that her and Anderson set before the season.
The early success should come as no surprise as Orosz had multiple appearances in the Hungarian National Championship and was awarded Swimmer of the Year in her age group five times from 2008-2013.
“It helped a lot, that I have a lot of competition,” she said. “We have really good swimmers.”
Although she was already an accomplished swimmer, both Orosz and Anderson did not expect her to have this good of a start to her career at YSU.
“We sat down at the begining of the year for her to potentially break some school records by the end of the year. Then she shows up at the second meet of the year and starts setting them right there,” Anderson said. “It’s been a much faster progression than we expected and it’s been really exciting, seeing what she’s capable of.”
Anderson said that Orosz is only going to get better and has high expectations for her during her time at YSU.
“I think that she’s got a really good shot of achieving her goal of winning the 200 this year, and really is just going to get better from there. She’s someone who’s got a great work ethic,” Anderson said. “She earns everything that she gets and I don’t see any reason that she isn’t going to continue to get better as she goes through.”