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THE EMBLEMATIC' Béla Rajki'


Like almost every other youngster in his native Hungary, Bela Rajki was a swimmer and a water polo player.

Born in 1909, he was one of the first players to surface in the country, and with early contemporary Bela Komjadi, Rajki helped to build Hungary's world-recognized water polo dynasty.

After withdrawing from the competitive sport as an athlete, he earned coaching diplomas in both swimming and diving and then held a lecturer's post at the Hungarian College of Physical Education and Sports. The years following World War II, from 1948 to 1967, he became the director of Hungary's National Sport Swimming Pool. During this time he was the technical director and national coach of Hungarian Swimming and Water Polo Teams from 1947 to 1973. In Olympic competition, Bela was the head coach of the 1948 Olympic Swimming Team, where Hungary won one gold medal with Eva Novak's 200m breaststroke swim. He coached both the swimming and water polo Olympic teams of 1952 in Helsinki, Finland, with the water polo team winning the gold medal over Yugoslavia. In 1956, he again coached the Hungarians to Gold against Yugoslavia. In 1972 he coached the Hungarians to silver at the Munich Olympics. Bela spent much of his time in the sport, off the pool deck. He was a Bureau member of FINA from 1952 to 1960, a FINA vice president from 1960 to 1964, and remains an Honorary FINA member today. He was a member of the International Water Polo Board from 1952 to 1964, serving as the chairman from 1960 to 1964. Bela served as vice president of the Liga Europea de Natacion (LEN) from 1954 to 1958 and as president from 1958 to 1962. After serving an additional four years as Bureau member from 1962 to 1966, he was made an honorary LEN member in 1994. In 1996, at age 86, Bela remains a member of the Hungarian Olympic Committee and the Honorary Life President of the Hungarian Water Polo Federation. Bela Rajki's contributions do not stop here. He has authored the first technique book on swimming, The Techniques of Competitive Swimming, published in 1956 with a second printing in 1963. His 1958 book Water Polo is a technical book dealing with every aspect of the sport. His books are noted for the early scientific approach to the sport and for the more than 528 above water and underwater photos. Photography and motion picture film taking are a very important part of Bela's contributions to the development of swimming and water polo. Bela is greatly acknowledged for his published photographic series of above water and underwater photographs and their importance in supporting coaching data. He has also written over 250 articles and periodical studies in the sport. He is a giant of his time who has devoted his entire life to the development and athleticism of our disciplines of water polo and swimming.(ISHOF, Inc). What an amazing man - WOW!





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